Oklahoma basketball: Notable numbers from growing up ‘Down Under’

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08: Head coach Lon Kruger of the Oklahoma Sooners talks with Jordan Shepherd
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08: Head coach Lon Kruger of the Oklahoma Sooners talks with Jordan Shepherd /

Men’s Oklahoma basketball produced just 11 wins in almost 120 days last season. Virtually that same group of men, with a couple of notable exceptions, rolled to four wins in 12 days this month in an international exhibition tour “Down Under.”

The Sooners played more like an NBA team in its just concluded foreign tour, eclipsing the century mark in all for games and with an average victory margin of 40 points.

Summer tours like the one the Sooners just took to New Zealand and Australia work on multiple fronts in helping a team prepare for the coming season. First off, it enables a team to come together organizationally much earlier than NCAA rules allow. By NCAA rule, a school is not allowed to commence formal team practice activities any sooner than 42 days prior to its first game.

That rule is waived for schools that schedule foreign exhibition tours in the offseason summer months. The NCAA allows teams to conduct such tours and play against international competition once every four years.

It also allows the players to get a much better feel and understanding of one another and what it is like to play together under different player rotation much earlier in the preseason training process.

“For our program this foreign trip couldn’t come at a better time,” Lon Kruger told former Daily Oklahoman sports columnist John Rhode prior to the trip.

"“It certainly benefits the players,” the Sooner head coach said. “The timing for this group is especially good with new guys coming in and guys returning who will have enhanced roles over a year ago.”"

Oklahoma’s team chemistry and overall balance was on full display in it four dominant exhibition tour victories.

Here is a baker’s dozen of notable numbers that we can takeaway from the four games and a reflection of what Sooner fans can look forward to come November and the start of the 2017-18 college basketball season.

3 – Junior Christian James shot 92 percent from behind the 3-point line, hitting 12 of 13 shots.

5Khadeem Lattin and Jamuni McNeace both had five blocked shots in the four games.

7.3 – Junior Rashard Odomes led the Sooners in rebounding, grabbing 29 total and averaging 7.3 per game.

15 – The Sooners’ super sophomores, Kameron McGusty and Kristian Doolittle combined to average 15 points a game in Oklahoma’s four tour victories. They combined for a 20-point average a year ago. The good news from this is the team will no longer have to rely on these two players to provide the bulk of the teams scoring production in the upcoming season.

22.3 – Scoring average by Trae Young, the Sooners’ five-star freshman, to lead all OU players. The Sooners’ leading scorer last season, Jordan Woodard, averaged 14.6 ppg.

40 – The Sooners held their four tour opponents under 40 percent in field goal percentage

43 – Oklahoma’s three freshman players — Trae Young, Brady Manek and Hannes Polla — averaged a combined 43 points a game, or 36 percent of the Sooners’ team scoring production.

50 – Average number of rebounds per game by Oklahoma in the four games of the tour. The Sooners averaged only 37 rebounds per game all of last season.

51 – Points scored by the Sutherland Sharks in Game 2 of the tour, 78 fewer than the 129 scored by the Sooners.

61Trae Young and Jordan Shepherd combined for 61 of the Sooners’ 109 total assists in the four games.

90 – Days until the 2017-18 season opener against Nebraska-Omaha.

92 – In addition to shooting 52 percent from the field and 40 percent in 3=point attempts, Trae Young shot 92 percent from the free-throw line (13 of 14).

119 – Oklahoma’s team scoring average in the four games. In their four exhibition wins, the Sooners scored 133, 129, 104 and 110 points. The latter two were against teams from the Australia National Basketball League.