Men's Oklahoma basketball loses third starter to transfer portal

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

When it rains, it pours, as the saying goes. And a storm is currently brewing, again, around the men's Oklahoma basketball program.

For the third consecutive year, it appears that head coach Porter Moser is in the process of losing most of his roster between seasons. The Sooners' leading scorer this past season, Javian McCollum, is the third starter and fourth OU player overall in a little over a week to enter the transfer portal.

McCollum averaged 13.9 points per game this season, best on the team, and 3.4 assists. He had one of the best free-throw percentages in Division I basketball (.943). He scored 20 or more points in a game four times and reached double-digits 21 times in 30 games. McCollum transferred to Oklahoma after two seasons at Siena. He will have one year of eligibilty remaining.

McCollum's announcement makes it at least seven members of the OU men's roster who will not be back next season -- four in the transfer portal (Otega Oweh, Milos Uzan, John Hugely IV and McCollum) and three whose eligibility has ended (Le'Tre Darthard, Rivaldo Soares and Maks Klanjscek). Those seven players accounted for 80 percent of the Sooners' scoring production this season and 74 percent of the minutes played. Five of the seven were incoming transfers to OU this season.

While the mercenary culture that exists throughout college athletics because of the transfer portal has forever altered the college recruiting and retention process, in OU men's basketball -- and, in particular under Moser -- it has become more than a pattern. It is now a troubling trend.

Everyone knows that at Oklahoma the sport of football is king, but something is dreadfully amiss in the men's basketball program for roster retention to be as big a problem as it's been the past three years or since Moser took the helm. Is the head coach to blame? Is it because of the lack of NIL money, or perhaps because of facilities? Lloyd Noble Center is 51 years old this year. It seats close to 11,000 but is typically never filled to capacity for a basketball game.

Undoubtedly, there will be social media outcries attacking Moser as the reason for this disturbing trend and requesting his firing. But in truth, the reason is probably a combination of all of the above. And, by the way, what ever happened to the rule that you could only transfer once without having to sit out a year of eligibility?

Just missing out on the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this season when for the longest while it appeared to be a sure thing may have been enough of a disappointment and the final straw in influencing the transfer decision of the four players who have chosen that path.

The transfer portal both giveth and taketh away. The Oklahoma program now has five scholarships to fill for next season. Moser already has two high school recruits signed for next season. As has been the case the past three seasons, the Sooners will turn to the transfer portal, seeking the best fits to replenish both the talent and experience lost from the 2023-24 roster.

Next. Oklahoma basketball: Sooner transfer departures now up to three. The Oklahoma men's basketball program has lost three players from the 2023-24 roster to the transfer portal. dark

All of this means that the coming season, which will be the Sooners debut year in the SEC, will be a critical one both for Oklahoma as well as for Porter Moser.