NORMAN — As Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger enters his third season, the program has gained momentum. It’s coming off its first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2009 and hopes for a repeat performance this season.
Does Kruger believe the program is to the point where the field of 67 is an obtainable goal every season?
“You always hope you’re a little further along. But for that group to get to the NCAA tournament last year was a nice step. It was a good experience for them and created great memories and was great for our fans,” he said Monday at the Sooners’ media day at Lloyd Noble Center. “They hope to build on that and make progress. The jury is clearly out on that in regard to this group because there are so many new guys.”
The Sooners return the majority of the roster from last season but have to replace their three leading scorers.
Pick up the pace: Every coach says he wants to his team to play up-tempo in November. The hard part is still being able to do it in February and March. But the Sooners believe they’ve assembled a team that can play at a quicker pace.
"We’re playing really up-tempo. It’s fast now. We have chemistry and we share the ball. Everybody is like a guard,” sophomore guard Buddy Hield said. “Cam (Clark) is like a guard but he plays the four (position) for us. Everybody is doing their part and we are sharing the ball. We’re just trying to push the tempo and increase the scoring."
Freshmen impact: One of the biggest reasons the Sooners reached the NCAA tournament last season was the impact guards Hield, Je’lon Hornbeak and Isaiah Cousins had as freshmen.
The Sooners brought in two freshmen guards this season — Jordan Woodard and Frank Booker. Kruger sees similar attributes.