Lon Kruger says eligibility still up in the air for Sooners' transfer guards

Umoja Gibson, Elijah Harkless both hoping to receive immediate eligibility from the NCAA and play in the 2020-21 season, but Kruger says "no update as far as a ruling"
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Lon Kruger's Oklahoma basketball team scored a pair of highly regarded commitments in the class of 2020, landing Tulsa-area prep guard Trey Phipps and California transplant Josh O'Garro. But Kruger also made waves in the transfer portal, scoring two athletic combo guards in Umoja Gibson and Elijah Harkless.

Phipps is expected to redshirt, and Kruger has already announced that O'Garro will do the same. But Gibson, a transfer from North Texas, and Harkless, formerly of CSU-Northridge, could contribute immediately to the Sooners' lineup.

Assuming they're eligible, that is.

Both players will have to successfully appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility in order to compete this season for Oklahoma. In Kruger's first press conference of the fall, he said that his program was still waiting on word as to Gibson and Harkless' status.

"No update as far as a ruling," Kruger said. "No response at this point. Expect something in the near future; certainly the season’s still six or seven weeks away, but it’ll be approaching more quickly than we might imagine."

The good news for the Sooners' duo of portal products is that the NCAA has frozen eligibility for all student-athletes in winter sports this upcoming season. The 2020-21 campaign will thus amount to a free year of eligibility, which bodes well for the odds that Gibson and Harkless win their respective appeals.

If the two are indeed ruled eligible, they'll join an experienced Oklahoma team that includes five seniors. Brady Manek and Austin Reaves each averaged nearly 15 points per game last season, while Kur Kuath and Alondes Williams came on strong in the season's closing stretch. Walk-on Read Streller is the fifth member of the Sooners' senior group.

"We’ve got a good veteran group in terms of experience, Elijah and Mo having a couple years of experience under their belt as well," said Kruger. "As a group, those [older players] have done a nice job leading."

Oklahoma is set to open its season in late November, but the Big 12 has yet to announce the Sooners' full schedule.

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