Has Jalon Moore become the OU basketball X-factor?

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Forward Jalon Moore was one of the pivotal pieces added to the Oklahoma basketball program this season via the transfer portal.

There are always plenty of players to go after every offseason on the ubiquitous free-agent highway known as the transfer portal, but it's not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Bringing in a veteran player to your roster may on paper appear as a value-added, but unless he is the right fit for your system, culture and overall program that value may never be realized.

For three years in a row now, OU head coach Porter Moser has brought in as many as six transfer players to fill out the Sooner roster. The Sooners struggled in each of the past two seasons in finding the right chemistry and consistency on the court to compete successfully with the best teams in the Big 12.

The 2023-24 editions of Oklahoma men's basketball has been different, though. This year's team started off the season 12-1 and moved up all the way to the No. 9 position in the national rankings. The Sooners are currently 16-5 overall and ranked 23rd in the country, competing in the best basketball conference in college basketball.

Georgia Tech transfer Jalon Moore has been a big part of that success. The 6-foot, 7-inch junior forward has started all 20 of Oklahoma's 21 games this season and is averaging 10.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. In the last five games alone, he is average 14.0 points, including a season-high 23 points in the Sooners' 73-53 win this week over Kansas State.

Moser was looking for greater length and athleticism in rebuilding the OU roster for this season, and Moore fits both of those attributes to a tee. He brings speed, agility and athleticism. He is comfortable attacking the basket on dribble drives, finishing lob or bounce passes for slam dunks or firing from three-point range. He made two of three from long range versus K-State and is shooting 41 percent on three balls for the season.

Moore has played a contributing role in all 16 of Oklahoma's wins this season. He has scored in double digits in eight games and at least 16 points in five, and he's collected at least eight rebounds in six games.

Moser has said this season that one of the things he likes best about Jalon Moore is that he gets his athleticism into the game.

"You see guys who are athletic, but they don't always get their athleticism into the game. Jalon Moore gets his athleticism into the game so much: running, jumping, defending, energy (in every game)."

Porter Moser

Moore was a transfer pickup who fit perfectly with what Moser wanted to do with this team, and in fact all of the transfers on the 2023-24 Sooner team, three of whom are starting, fit that mold and are playing together better than any of the three Oklahoma teams he has coached since coming to Norman.

The Sooners are well on a path to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons and produce the best season since the 2025-16 Final Four Oklahoma team.

And here's more good news: Jalon Moore has another year of eligibility remaining after this one.