The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 25, 2013

After tourney exit, Sooners looking ahead

(Continued)

PHILADELPHIA —

He wasn’t the only player who struggled, but he has to become more reliable, or a lot more like Osby.

“Romero did an amazing job and it’s my job to get in the gym and get myself prepared to assume a role like that, and that’s what I’m going to do,” M’Baye said. “I have no doubt I’m going to be in the gym all summer working on my game and hopefully do the same thing.”

The Sooners lose 53.9 percent of their scoring, 87.7 percent of their rebounding and 50.2 of their assists played its last game with point guard Sam Grooms, shooting guard Steven Pledger and reserve forward Andrew Fitzgerald.

“This group did a remarkable job. They stated as a goal back in November and October that they wanted to play in the tournament. I don’t know that a lot of people really gave them a lot of attention to that, and yet they just kept grinding and kept improving,” Kruger said. “I think just the progress they’ve made is great for the program, just absolutely terrific. The freshmen are going to get better, the guys coming back, a couple guys sitting out, they’ll all benefit. They’ll all benefit from what these guys have done, and many of these guys are back even though we lose five seniors. Many of the guys that are back got key minutes in ballgames and they’ll benefit greatly.”

The long-term future of OU basketball resides with guards Je’lon Hornbeak, Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins. The freshmen trio had excellent games and were mixed in with some struggles. They were typical freshmen.

“We gained a lot of experience this season,” Hield said. “We have a lot confidence.”

The program took the step it had to this season. It finally got back in the NCAA tournament and that’s a level OU should be at every season.

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