Porter Moser’s first season in 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 top scorer from a season ago, forward Tanner Groves (11.6 points, 5.0 rebounds), the Sooners’ first, third and fourth scorers are on the doorstep. .
The departure of goalkeeper Jordan Goldwire was expected. He was no longer eligible. He averaged 10.4 points in his only season at the OU.
The departures of guards Umoja Gibson and Elijah Harkless were less so. The two were given a year to operate due to COVID-19, but both opted to use them elsewhere. Harkless was injured after 26 games and averaged 10 points per game. He is transferred to UNLV. Gibson, the Sooners’ leading scorer with 13.3 points, is testing the waters of the NBA draft but has retained his eligibility. If he comes back, he’ll play DePaul.
So where does that leave the Sooners? Groves’ younger brother Jacob, who was in the starting lineup at the end of the season, is expected to be a starter from the start after averaging just 4.6 points last season. Forward Jalen Hill has averaged a team-leading 9.1 points and 5.9 rebounds and is coming back.
That’s probably the most the Sooners can “count on” in 2022-23. The rest are questions the Sooners need to answer this offseason.
Is backup playmaker Bijan Cortes ready for a bigger role? Besides, is goalkeeper CJ Noland?
Can the Sooners find some depth up front, where key players lost to transfer like Rick Issanza and Akol Mawein. The Sooners are woefully thin in frontline returning players.
How long will the Sooners’ transfers get? George Washington’s Joe Bamasile averaged 16.3 points and five rebounds last season. It has the potential to make an impact. The same goes for 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.
Additionally, the Sooners have a strong recruiting class. But can any of these four freshmen be an immediate contributor? One or two might be needed.
If Moser has any purses left, one would expect him to try to drop a player from the transfer gate with a penchant for scoring or rebounding, or both, for next season.
Updated Oklahoma men’s basketball roster for 2022-23
Back for 2022-23 (7): F Jalen Hill, G Bijan Cortes, G CJ Noland, G Jake Moser, F Jacob Groves, F/C Tanner Groves, G Blake Seacat
Leaving early (3): G Jordan Goldwire, G Marvin Johnson, F/C Ethan Chargois (eligibility).
Early 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 the program (2): G Joe Bamisile (George Washington), F Sam Godwin (Wofford).
Class of 2022 Signed (3): G Otega Oweh (6-foot-6, Somerset, NJ), G Benny Schröder (6-foot-7, Germany/Kickz IBAM (International Basketball Academy Munich), G Milos Uzan (6-foot-4, Las Vegas, Nev.).
Planned starting composition: F Jalen Hill, F Jacob Groves, F/C Tanner Groves, G Bijan Cortes, G Joe Bamisile
Projected primary bench: G CJ Noland, F Sam Godwin, G Blake Seacat, G Otega Oweh.
(List as of May 23. Subject to change).
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard