NORMAN — For the second season in a row, Oklahoma basketball will have a variety of new faces on the floor.
The year-to-year turnover isn’t as extreme as Porter Moser’s first season in Norman, but some of the most talented players on the current squad are players that transferred in.
Of course, the Sooners also have locker room veterans, too. Moser mentioned multiple times during Thursday’s media availability how having guys that have been in the program make a huge difference. Tanner Groves, Jacob Groves, Bijan Cortes, CJ Noland and Jalen Hill are all entering year two of the Moser era.
“Those five, having them back, having guys that have been through your program,” Moser started, “I can’t tell you how much that helped us this summer. And it’s helping us this fall. Just how things go, these are our standards, how hard you have to go every rep.”
Having experience helps in both practice and preparation, as the returning players understand what Moser is looking for. One thing is certain: Oklahoma will emphasize defense, no matter who is on the floor.
For transfers coming in, learning a new system in a short amount of time can be overwhelming. Under Moser, a coach who seems to value hard work and hustle, it can add extra motivation.
“If you get a stop or something, take a charge, he’s gonna be just as hype as you are," Nevada transfer Grant Sherfield said. Sherfield was a prized possession in Oklahoma's portal class, and will likely lead the offense. "And he’s what? 54 years old, jumping and running around? I mean that’s always fun. It really makes you wanna get after it more on defense for sure.”
It always takes time for a team to find chemistry, but the Sooners seem to be understanding Moser’s points of emphasis. If Oklahoma can be an elite defensive team, it could be a fun season.
“You know coach is real thorough on defense, and defense creates offense," Sherfield said. "D-C-O, he always preaches that. We’re trying to put that into play.
“I really just have to lock in every day. Make sure I’m rotating into the different spots."