Oklahoma basketball: TaShawn Thomas could be Sooners’ X factor


When the news broke that TaShawn Thomas was cleared to play for OU this season, I was ecstatic.

Thomas’ potential was through the roof, and replacing Cameron Clark would be much easier on Oklahoma.

Dec 13, 2014; Tulsa, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners forward TaShawn Thomas (35) looks to shoot around Tulsa Golden Hurricane guard Rashad Smith (1) during the second half at Donald Reynolds Center. Oklahoma won 87-68. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Clark was the difference most nights for Oklahoma. However, TaShawn Thomas could be a huge reason for Oklahoma’s success this season.

The Sooners have Buddy Hield, a rising star with name recognition across the country. OU, also, has a blue-collar forward in Ryan Spangler, who did most of the dirty work last season—grabbing boards and fighting in the post.

However, OU hasn’t had a dynamic big man like TaShawn Thomas in a while. Maybe since Blake Griffin.

OU lived and died by the three-point shot last season, but it appears Lon Kruger is trying to correct that very risky strategy with a stellar front court.

"“Coming out of the Bahamas, we realized we have to get the ball into Tay and Ryan (Spangler) a lot more. Last game, Ryan had a big game against Missouri, Tay had a big game today. We had just gotten away from that balance, and Ryan and Tay give us a good chance to get back to it a little bit. We want to play more through the post. We have the last couple of ballgames, and we like the results much better.” – Lon Kruger, via Sooner Sports"

If you would have told me OU would have won against Tulsa with Buddy Hield shooting 4-of-17 from the field, I’d say you’re crazy. However, that’s exactly what OU did.

The Golden Hurricane put up 68 points on OU, but the Sooners scored 87 on Tulsa’s home floor.

Thomas led the team in scoring with 25 points and he received helped from Isaiah Cousins, who put up a respectable 21 points.

Saturday was a quality win for Oklahoma. They showed they can rely on other players, but with Thomas, you have to hope to see consistency with his involvement in the offense.

Tulsa may not be a “quality” team, but Oklahoma looks like a team headed in the right direction.

The competition will get better, but as long as OU can figure the little things out now, their path to a Big 12 Championship should become much easier.

The Sooners look to be in good hands with Thomas in the front court, and maybe, just maybe, OU can muscle their way to deep run in to the NCAA Tournament with its promising 2014-15 squad.