The Sooners are working on their third consecutive top-10 recruiting class in football. It’s been a long time since men’s Oklahoma basketball has been able to boast a top-10 recruiting class.
This year could be the first time — in how about forever? — that Oklahoma will welcome a top-10 class in both sports. That’s right, we’re not just talking about top talent on the gridiron, but the hardwood as well.
The last two OU football recruiting classes have ranked eighth and 10th nationally in 2017 and 2018, respectively. And with the addition of five-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood this past weekend, ESPN has the Sooners ranked eighth, with four four-star signees in the 2019 class, the most of any team in the nation.
With five commitments, the 2019 Oklahoma basketball recruiting class features three four-star recruits: 6-foot, 6-inch forward Jalen Hill from Las Vegas, 6-foot, 7-inch forward Victor Iwuakor from Sulphur Springs, Texas, and 6-foot, 1-inch guard De’Vion Harmon from Denton, Texas. The 2019 Sooner class is currently ranked 10th in the ESPN 2019 class rankings. That’s the highest its been since the 2009-10 season.
The OU basketball program has produced two top 15 recruiting classes in the last 13 years. Over that same time period, the football program has produced nine top-15 recruiting classes, with an average national ranking of 11.3
The 2007 OU basketball recruiting class, featuring highly touted McDonald’s All-American Blake Griffin, was ranked 15th nationally by ESPN. The 2009 class, which came into the program the year after Griffin left for the NBA, included two five-star McDonald’s All-Americans in Tommy Mason-Griffin and Keith “Tiny” Gallon. ESPN ranked the 2009 class as the sixth best in the nation.
Of course, a top recruiting class does not always translate into top results on the court. Griffin was the top recruit in his 2007 OU recruiting class and his recruitment proved to be a gold mine in the two seasons he played for the Sooners. Oklahoma was 23-12 in Griffin’s freshman season, and the Sooners were 30-6 his sophomore year and advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual national champion North Carolina.
The Sooners had an even higher-ranked recruiting class in 2009, but the return was dismal compared with the 2007 class. In addition to five-stars Mason-Griffin and Gallon, the 2009-10 Oklahoma team also had former five-star recruit Willie Warren on the roster. Turned out that too much talent was too much of a good thing for the Sooners that season. The chemistry never formed on that team, which was just 13-18 overall and a miserable 4-12 in Big 12 action. Warren left for the NBA after that season, his second year with the Sooners. Mason-Griffin declared for the NBA after one season, and Gallon was suspended and never played again for OU.
Difficult to say what next season will hold for Oklahoma football and basketball. But one thing I can tell you is it’s been a heck of a long time, if ever, since both programs brought in top-10 recruiting classes in the same recruiting cycle.
Top-ranked recruiting classes have become an expectation of the Oklahoma football program, but it is really good to see the Sooners putting on a full-court press again in basketball recruiting as well.