Porter Moser’s first season at Oklahoma, which featured a winning record and a trip to the second round of the NIT, should have led to offseason stability.
Well, that’s not quite the case.
While Moser can count on the return of his leading scorer of a season ago, forward Tanner Groves (11.6 points, 5.0 rebounds), the Sooners’ first, third and fourth-leading scorers are out the door.
The departure of guard Jordan Goldwire was expected. He was out of eligibility. He averaged 10.4 points in his one season at OU.
The departures of guards Umoja Gibson and Elijah Harkless were less so. Both had a year to tap into due to COVID-19, but both have chosen to use them elsewhere. Harkless suffered an injury after 26 games and he averaged 10 points per game. He’s transferred to UNLV. Gibson, the Sooners’ leading scorer at 13.3 points, is testing the NBA Draft waters but kept his eligibility. If he returns, he will play at DePaul.
So where does that leave the Sooners? Groves’ younger brother, Jacob, who cracked the starting lineup late in the season, should be a starter from the outset after averaging just 4.6 points last season. Forward Jalen Hill averaged 9.1 points and a team-leading 5.9 rebounds and he returns.
That’s probably the most the Sooners can ‘count on’ in 2022-23. The rest of it are questions the Sooners must answer this offseason.
Is holdover backup point guard Bijan Cortes ready for a larger role? For that matter, is guard C.J. Noland?
Can the Sooners find some depth at forward, where the lost key players to transfer like Rick Issanza and Akol Mawein. The Sooners are dreadfully thin in returning frontcourt players.
How much run will the Sooners’ transfers get? George Washington’s Joe Bamisile averaged 16.3 points and five rebounds last season. He has the potential to make an impact. So does Wofford’s Sam Godwin, who averaged 6.3 points but was a 50 percent 3-point shooter. The Moore, Okla., native may be the forward the Sooners desperately need to back up the Groves brothers.
Plus, the Sooners have a solid recruiting class coming in. But can any of those four freshman be immediate contributors? One or two might have to be.
If Moser has any scholarships left, one would expect him to try and pull a player out of the transfer portal with a penchant for scoring or rebounding, or both, for next season.
Oklahoma Men’s Basketball Roster Update for 2022-23
Returning for 2022-23 (7): F Jalen Hill, G Bijan Cortes, G C.J. Noland, G Jake Moser, F Jacob Groves, F/C Tanner Groves, G Blake Seacat
Sooners leaving (3): G Jordan Goldwire, G Marvin Johnson, F/C Ethan Chargois (eligibility).
Sooners in transfer portal (5): G Umoja Gibson (DePaul), G Alston Mason (Missouri State), F Akol Mawien (Sacramento State), C Rick Issanza (Loyola Marymount), G Elijah Harkless (UNLV)
Transfers entering program (2): G Joe Bamisile (George Washington), F Sam Godwin (Wofford).
Class of 2022 Signees (3): G Otega Oweh (6-foot-6, Somerset, N.J.), G Benny Schröder (6-foot-7, Germany/Kickz IBAM (International Basketball Academy Munich), G Milos Uzan (6-foot-4, Las Vegas, Nev.).
Projected starting lineup: F Jalen Hill, F Jacob Groves, F/C Tanner Groves, G Bijan Cortes, G Joe Bamisile
Projected primary bench: G C.J. Noland, F Sam Godwin, G Blake Seacat, G Otega Oweh.
(Roster as of May 23. Subject to change).
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard