TULSA — The past few months haven't been pretty for Oklahoma men's basketball.
The school's worst record in almost three decades.
Three underclassmen gone to the NBA, and two others gone from the team.
Two assistant coach departures.
And an NCAA investigation, which prompted one national columnist this week to write the program was deserving of the "death penalty."
But OU coach Jeff Capel said Tuesday evening he's pleased with the direction of the program in the wake of a tumultuous year.
"A month ago, I mentioned 'Cleansing our program.' I feel we've done that. I like the direction we're going," Capel said during the OU caravan in Tulsa. "It's been challenging. Obviously, a lot of things going on. But I'm really excited about the way our returning guys have worked and the new guys we have coming in."
As Capel turns the page on last season, the NCAA is investigating whether former assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro conspired with a Tampa-based financial adviser to provide ex-Sooner forward Tiny Gallon with "extra benefits."
According to TMZ.com, former Merrill Lynch financial adviser Jeffrey Hausinger wired $3,000 into a bank account shared by Gallon and his mother, Sylvia Wright.
Phone records show that Taliaferro and Hausinger exchanged at least 41 phone calls and 25 text messages over a ten-month period.
All this occurred while OU was still on probation from when former OU coach Kelvin Sampson and his assistants were found guilty of placing 577 impermissible phone calls to recruits from 2000-04.
Tuesday, CBSSports.com college basketball columnist Gregg Doyel, a native of Norman, wrote: "If Oklahoma basketball doesn't deserve the NCAA's death penalty, what program ever will?
Capel said he couldn't comment on the ongoing investigation or how long it could take.
But he did discuss a team that's been overhauled in the off-season.
Capel has signed nine recruits to replenish his roster. Among those are five freshmen, two junior-college additions and two Division I transfers.
Only one, Mississippi State transfer Romero Osby who will have to sit out a year, won't be available to help next season.
Capel has also been interviewing candidates to replace Taliaferro, who resigned last month, and Mark Cline, who took an assistant's job at Marshall.
"I'm excited to see what this team can become," Capel said. "I don't know what my expectations are. We've been through a lot here these past few months. I don't think it's fair to think about November or December right now.
"But I'm anxious to get everyone here on campus and get those guys working. Anxious for late August to get here when we'll start working."