Oklahoma basketball: Sooner men lose another player to transfer portal

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Men's Oklahoma basketball keeps taking one step forward and two backward in rebuilding a roster for the 2024-25 season.

The Sooners were already down seven players from this past season's roster and have only added three transfers to go with two 2024 recruits to replenish the departures.

Is it something in the water or is something really going wrong within the Oklahoma men's program? As we've written numerous times in the past few years, the transfer portal has all but eliminated the word "stability, from the college sports lexicon. And nowhere are its effects felt more impactfully than in college basketball.

Since the Sooners played their last game of the 2023-24 season nearly two months ago, they have lost eight players who won't be on the roster next season. This has been a recurring scenario every season Porter Moser, who is entering his fourth season as coach of the OU men's team, has been in Norman. This offseason's departures, however, may be the most severe, and it may not be over.

The latest departure, revealed this week, is sophomore guard Kaden Cooper. A native Oklahoman from Ada, Cooper was a four-star prospect and a member of OU's 2023 recruiting class. He was considered a huge pickup for Moser, choosing Oklahoma over offers from such major programs as Kansas, UConn, Alabama, Texas and LSU.

The 6-foot, 5-inch small forward played only sparingly this past season, appearing in 15 games and averaging 1.5 points per game. He averaged roughly five minutes per game and shot 46.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the three-point line.

When Cooper signed with OU out of high school is was rated as the No. 6 player in Oklahoma and the No. 65 nationally. Cooper was expected to see considerably more playing time in the coming season. Now, that will be with another school.

Moser has had to replace an average of six or seven players every season he has been at Oklahoma due to graduation or the transfer portal. Three of the eight who won't be returning next season (Rivaldo Soares, Le'Tre Darthard and Maks Klanjscek) are out of eligibility. Five others (Javian McCollum, John Hugely IV, Otega Oweh, Milos Uzan, and now Cooper), however, have elected to leave via the transfer portal.

And the Sooners may lose still another if 6-foot, 7-inch forward Jalon Moore fails to exercise his option to return to school instead of pursuing the NBA draft process.

McCollum and Hugely played just one season at Oklahoma after transferring from Siena and Pittsburgh, respectively. Oweh and Uzan, though, were recruited by Moser in OU's 2022 class.

The Sooners have signed three transfers for next season, but all three have just one year of eligibility remaining. Regardless, OU is still operating at a net loss of five. The only returning starter from last year's roster appears to be 6-foot, 10-inch forward Sam Godwin.

Things definitely are not headed in a positive direction for OU men's basketball as the program prepares for its move to the SEC in 2024-25.