Every basketball coach wants his team to be more athletic and more skilled.
But high-flying talent like Zion Williamson and Trae Young — ridiculously gifted one-and-dones in college who can immediately change the fortunes of an NBA franchise — are hard to find and even harder to sign.
In his first year as head coach at Oklahoma, Porter Moser has mined the transfer portal for players who are fundamentally sound, have been well coached and bring to Norman a basis from which Moser can mold the Sooners’ culture moving forward.
But he’s not done.
“I love skill,” Moser said. “I love guys coming from winning programs. I love the guys that have been on the stage before.
“But I do know we need to still add athleticism and length. I’m not naïve. Looking at the rosters in this league, seeing the athleticism and the length, we’re still continuing to add that in this recruiting class.”
Landing a talent like Bryce Thompson from Tulsa via Kansas would have gone a long way toward accomplishing that. But the former 5-star recruit this week chose Oklahoma State instead of Oklahoma.
Still, Moser said Friday via a video press conference that the guys he has brought in, while they do possess a strong foundation of hoops fundamentals (just watching their highlights reveals how all four play the game from a background of sound basketball principles), are also more athletic people might think.
Tanner Groves and Jacob Groves from Eastern Washington, Jordan Goldwire from Duke and Ethan Chargois from SMU will lend impressive athleticism and skill to the Sooner roster, Moser said.
“The Groves brothers are so skilled and they’re long,” he said. “Jacob Groves, his ceiling is really, really high. He was just getting his confidence; you can see he was just getting better and better and better. He’s got a little edge to himself, which I like. I was a younger brother; that younger brother syndrome, you’re always trying to compete and you’ve got an edge to yourself, and he has that. He’s long, he has a high release. He’s skilled, but he’s also got a little edge with his toughness.
“Ethan really wanted to play for his home state. I think there’s something to be said about that, how you represent the name on the front of that jersey. I really like that. He’s skilled. I’ve talked to him about having the best year of your life. Have the best year of your college career this year. No regrets, nothing held back in terms of strength, conditioning, athleticism, being in the best shape of your life. But he is skilled. He can pass, shoot, function on the perimeter. I like that skill level. But he’s longer. We definitely needed some length.”
OU is losing a multi-threat weapon in Austin Reaves, a shooter in Brady Manek, a versatile, dynamic off-guard in De’Vion Harmon, a rim-protecting big man in Kur Kuath and two athletic swing men in Alondes Willliams and Victor Iwuakor.
When three freshman join the team this summer, the roster overhaul may be complete. Or it may not.
“We’ve got some spots open,” Moser said. “And we’re definitely going to continue to add athleticism as well.”