Before Jamal Bieniemy transferred, it was expected that the Oklahoma Sooners would be in the transfer market this offseason. However, with the unexpected transfer of the former Sooner, the portal has been even more active for Lon Kruger and his squad. The most recent transfer, Elijah Harkless, comes from Cal State Northridge — a member of the Big West Conference. He is not a graduate transfer, so just like Monday addition Umoja Gibson, he is banking on the one-time free transfer and play policy that the NCAA is set to debate in May. With that said, many people on the Sooner staff and around collegiate athletics believe that the NCAA will pass the rule allowing non-grad transfers to play right away (provided that it is the player’s first time to transfer).
Harkless doesn’t come to Oklahoma with a list of accolades, rather he just had a breakout season with Cal State Northridge being a guy who does a lot of things — the term “glue guys” certainly applies here. He averaged 11 points, six rebounds and three assists a game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from three. He led the Big West in steals, taking the ball away from his opponents 54 times, the most turnovers forced in the Big West since the 2004-05 season. So if anything is clear about what his stats suggest, Harkless is aggressive on defense and uses it to his advantage to get to the rim.
As an Oklahoma Sooner, I think there’s a slight chance that Harkless may actually be redshirted despite whatever the NCAA ruling will be in May. The Sooners will already have Austin Reaves, De’Vion Harmon, Alondes Williams, and Umoja Gibson ready to play— it just depends on what Lon Kruger feels is a major team need at the moment. Oklahoma lost its only senior in Kristian Doolittle, a forward, and then guard Jamal Bieniemy to transfer. The Sooners are already stocked with forwards and have four viable guards, not including in coming freshman Trey Phipps from Booker T. Washington, who can scorch the nets from downtown. With Harkless’ 6’4, 195-lb. frame, he reminds me a lot of what Alondes Williams already brings to the table — someone who brings energy, length, athleticism and defensive tenacity, but without a ton of polished offensive skill.