Oklahoma basketball opens practice for 2017-18 season

MORGANTOWN, WV - JANUARY 18: Kameron McGusty
MORGANTOWN, WV - JANUARY 18: Kameron McGusty /

The calendar has moved to October and with it comes the opening of men’s basketball practice in readiness for the 2017-18 college season.

The Sooners’ hit the hardwood on Monday for their first official practice session of the new season, with the goal of improving upon their 11-20 overall record from last season and a ninth-place finish in the Big 12.

Head coach Lon Kruger’s team loses only one starter, point guard Jordan Woodard, from a year ago and returns eight players who logged plenty of minutes of action along with a top-25 recruiting class, headed by McDonald’s All-American Trae Young.

Seventy-five percent of Oklahoma offensive production last season is back for 2017-18. The Sooners will be without sophomore Kristian Doolittle for at least a semester. Doolittle, who average just over nine points a game last season, is ineligible until the second semester.

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The Sooners offered a preview of what fans can look forward to in a 12-day, four-game international tour this summer to New Zealand and Australia. Although just an offseason series of exhibition games, this edition of OU men’s basketball gave every indication it will enter the 2017-18 season much stronger, more experienced and fixated on having a better season than a year ago.

OU finished its international exhibition tour with a 4-0 record, winning the four games by a average victory margin of 40 points. The Sooners averaged 119 points a game and were led in the scoring column by top freshman recruit Young, who averaged over 20 points on the tour.

Kruger was pleased the Sooners had the opportunity to make the foreign trip. It was a tremendous opportunity “to spend time together on the court, in practice and come together as a team,” the OU head coach said in a news release issued by the school’s athletic department, and to be able to do so almost two months ahead of the official start of preseason practice.

OU men’s practices are open to the public, and fans are encouraged to attend and meet the team.

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The Sooners will begin the 2017-18 season on Nov. 12, when they will host the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Prior to the home opener, OU will play an exhibition game on Nov, 8 at Lloyd Noble Center against East Central University, out of Ada, Oklahoma.