TULSA — Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger visited with reporters Monday evening before his OU Caravan appearance.
Here are a few highlights from his interview session:
* Kruger praised sophomore forward Ryan Spangler, the Bridge Creek product who began his college career at Gonzaga, transferred to OU and sat out last season.
“Ryan Spangler’s a tough worker,” Kruger said. “Loves to play, loves to compete. Very good rebounder, runs the floor very well. No doubt that (fans) can expect great effort, a great intensity level. They’ll love the way he plays.”
Spangler appeared in 22 games as a true freshman at Gonzaga, averaging 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds. Asked if Spangler can be a reliable scorer for the Sooners, Kruger answered in the affirmative.
“He’ll be a good scorer,” Kruger said. “He’s a sophomore next year, so whether or not you project that right away, it’s a bit hard to say. A lot of it depends on who else steps forward, who else can score. But certainly Ryan will be a guy we expect to score for us.
“He’ll be in that group with Buddy (Hield), and with Je’lon (Hornbeak) and Isaiah (Cousins) and Cam (Clark), and all those guys. We’ve got several guys who can approach that double-figure scoring.
“I don’t see one guy stepping out and getting a bunch. I see a lot of guys averaging right near double figures.”
* On moving forward from last season’s NCAA Tournament appearance, which ended in a first-round loss to San Diego State:
“I like the progress we’ve made,” Kruger said. “Obviously, the group last year did a great job in taking the step to get to the tournament. Now you want to win games in the tournament. That group’s got good memories now for a lifetime. They hadn’t played in the postseason tournament, so very happy for them to have had that experience.”
* Kruger said he isn’t sure if incoming junior-college forwards Edson Avila and Keshaun Hamilton will join the team in time for summer workouts and its 10-day European tour.
“Edson Avila and Keshaun Hamilton probably will be finishing up their work,” Kruger said. “There’s a chance of them not being able to practice and going on that trip, but that remains to be seen.”
* Kruger expects incoming freshman point guard Jordan Woodard to make an immediate impact:
In three seasons as Edmond Memorial’s starting point guard, Woodard helped lead the Bulldogs to two Class 6A state championships, including the 2013 title. He needed arthroscopic knee surgery after his senior season, and played the state championship game on a badly injured hamstring.
“He’s a good basketball player,” Kruger said. “He’s a team guy. He handled the ball well at the point, probably more of a point guard than anyone else we’ve got. When you think about Je’lon, Isaiah … they’re more combo guard who have played some point. But Jordan’s played point all his life, and that’s his natural position.”
The Sooners lose departing senior Sam Grooms, who started 39 games at point guard over the past two seasons.