At Monday's Oklahoma men's basketball media day, Sooners coach Lon Kruger said freshman Jordan Woodard would be in the rotation immediately.
“He always has the big picture — the team — foremost in his mind,” Kruger said. “(He's) very quick off the dribble, able to push it. He's a scoring point guard, which we love, but able to create for others and very actively defensively as well.”
Woodard, who starred at Edmond Memorial and led the Bulldogs to two state titles, is the only true point guard on the roster.
“I feel like I can hopefully bring more fluidity to the team's offense,” Woodard said. “I'm just all about making sure my teammates are getting the ball.”
The Sooners host Washburn (Kan.) in an exhibition game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center before opening the regular season Nov. 8 in Dallas against Alabama.
Kruger said he remained hopeful junior forward D.J. Bennett, who suffered a partially torn tendon in his foot recently, would be cleared in time to play in the season-opener against Alabama.
“He'll probably miss another week or more,” Kruger said.
Bennett will likely have an MRI near the end of the week or early next week before a decision is made on his status for the opener.
Bennett is the third Sooners player — Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins are the others — to suffer a foot or ankle injury over the last three months.
“I don't know what it is, honestly,” Bennett said. “There must be something in the water.
“I'm just glad there was nothing broken.”
HIELD REFINES SHOT
Hield, a sophomore guard, has changed things up with his shot since last season.
“I changed my form a little bit trying to have a better arc on the ball,” Hield said. “I always love being a shooter and as I transitioned from high school to college, I didn't really have confidence in my shot so adding a few touches helps me get back my confidence.”
Hield averaged 7.8 points last season, starting 13 games.
He did not play during the team's August trip to Europe after aggravating a foot injury he suffered last season. But Kruger said he was confident the injury wouldn't hamper Hield moving forward.
HORNBEAK: WE WANT TO GET BACK
Je'lon Hornbeak said even with the departures of Romero Osby and Amath M'Baye and the void that leaves inside, the Sooners were still equipped to make the NCAA Tournament and to advance once they do.
“When I first got here, the goal was to make the NCAA Tournament,” Hornbeak said. “Nobody here had ever made it. Now that most of us have been there, we want to get back there and we know what it takes and we want to go further than just the first and second round.”
Kruger, on Gonzaga transfer Ryan Spangler's development after sitting out last season:
“Ryan's been great. He took advantage of that redshirt year last year, I think, as much as a player can in terms of working hard every day and working to develop a little more range on his shot. He's a blue-collar guy that loves to play. … He'll be one of the leaders for us right off the bat.”
BY RYAN ABER