NORMAN — After being supplanted in the starting lineup as a sophomore, Oklahoma guard Je’lon Hornbeak has decided to transfer.
“I met with Coach (Lon) Kruger, and he was understanding of my desire for a fresh start,” Hornbeak said in a statement. “I appreciate (assistant) Coach (Lew) Hill recruiting me, and all my teammates. That bond is strong. All the coaches are trying to help me get to wherever I want to go. I’m thankful for that. Everyone has been good to me.”
Hornbeak started 29 of 32 games as a freshman, averaging 5.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
This season, though, Jordan Woodard assumed the point guard position, and Isaiah Cousins and Buddy Hield locked down the other guard spots.
Hornbeak had a rough start to the season, being suspended for Oklahoma’s exhibition opener and then breaking his foot and missing the final four non-conference games.
After a slow start upon his return, Hornbeak settled into a groove late in the season, giving the Sooners a solid backup point guard.
In the final 10 games, Hornbeak averaged 6.8 points and 3.4 assists and shot better than 50 percent from the field.
Hornbeak informed Kruger of his decision Tuesday morning.
“It’s always disappointing when a player leaves a program,” Kruger said. “But we all wish the very best for Je’lon.”
Hornbeak’s departure leaves the Sooners scrambling to fill a spot during the late signing period, which begins Wednesday.
Kruger indicated OU would look to add a player during that period, which lasts until May 21.
“We have an outstanding group returning next season and several talented new players coming in,” Kruger said. “We’re excited to start the process of building on the success we’ve experienced the last two years.”
The Sooners will have just one senior on next year’s roster — forward D.J. Bennett.