Leading up to the opening of the 2021-22 Big 12 Men’s basketball season Heartland College Sports will analyze each of the Big 12 men’s basketball rosters. Today it’s the Oklahoma Sooners.
2020-21 Season-Ending Roster (bold denotes returning for 2021-22): F Victor Iwuakor (6-foot-7), F Jalen Hill (6-7), G Umoja Gibson (6-1), G Trey Phipps (6-2), G De’Vion Harmon (6-2), G Austin Reaves (6-5), F Anyang Garang (6-9), G Alondes Williams (6-5), C Rick Issanza (7-1), G Josh O’Garro (6-5), G Elijah Harkless (6-3), F Read Streller (6-8), F Brady Manek (6-9), G Blake Seacat (6-4), G Keller Casey (6-6), F Kur Kuath (6-10).
Left for pro basketball: Reaves.
Left due to eligibility: Streller.
Left program to transfer: Garang (UMBC), Harmon (Oregon), Iwuakor (UNLV), Kuath (Marquette), Manek (North Carolina), O’Garro (San Jose State), Phipps (Oral Roberts), Williams (Wake Forest).
Joined program via transfer: F Ethan Chargois (SMU), G Jordan Goldwire (Duke), F Jacob Groves (Eastern Washington), F Tanner Groves (Eastern Washington), G Marvin Johnson (Eastern Illinois), F Akolda Mawein (Navarro College).
Class of 2021 Recruits: G CJ Noland (6-foot-3), Waxahachie, Texas; G Bijan Cortes (6-1), Kingfisher, Oklahoma; G Alston Mason (6-1), Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kansas).
Others: G Jake Moser.
Potential starting lineup: Gibson, Johnson, Goldwire, Jacob Groves, Tanner Groves.
Why?: Gibson is the one holdover from last season that I see starting. He’s a solid perimeter player who could really explode and become the Sooners’ leading scorer on the perimeter next season — if Johnson doesn’t beat him to it. The pair, combined with Goldwire, should give the Sooner a solid foundation. Then, there’s the Groves brothers. Tanner has the chance to show himself to be a player that can succeed on a high-major stage. His younger brother, Jacob, showed during the NCAA Tournament last year that he’s ready to start. To me, this is a guard-heavy lineup, at least to start with.
The bench: Harkless, Chargois, Hill, Issanza, Noland.
Why? Harkless was a starter by season’s end last year, but I think new head coach Porter Moser is going to like bringing his toughness and defense off the bench. Chargois, Hill and Issanza can all fill roles for the Sooners. Noland is the one true freshman who can come in and make an impact, playing 10-12 minutes per game.
The wild card: None. The Sooners don’t look deep enough right now to have a wild card.
By Big 12 Play?: Expect Moser to start a lot of different lineups in non-conference action. But, by Big 12 play, I expect Harkless to crash the starting lineup, which would put Jacob Groves, Williams or Goldwire on the bench. That might not be a bad thing for the Sooners, depending on the chemistry. But after losing nine players to transfer or pro ball, the Sooners will look a lot different in November, and the starting lineup could look different in January, too.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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