The 2018-19 season might be a long and difficult slog for men’s Oklahoma basketball fans, but the future beyond this season looks quite different.
Wednesday was national signing day in college basketball for the 2019 recruiting class, and OU head coach Lon Kruger has brought in one of the country’s best. The sports news website 247Sports rates the Sooners as having the ninth best recruiting class nationally for the 2019-20 college basketball season. Rivals.com ranks OU’s 2019 recruits as the 11th best class.
Oklahoma went from the one of the country’s youngest teams a couple of years ago to the oldest in the Big 12 this season with eight seniors or graduate transfers and only one scholarship freshman. The average age of the Sooner roster this season is 21.1, according to the OU athletic department.
Kruger currently has five recruits signed as members of the 2019 class, three of which are rated as four stars by Rivals. This group is coming in at a great time, with a good part of this year’s OU roster moving on after this season.
The Sooners highest-rated recruit is De’Vion Harmon, a 6-foot, 1-inch point guard from Denton, Texas. A top-50 player nationally, Harmon is among the top eight players at his position, according to Rivals and ESPN.
Victor Iwuakor, a top-100 recruit, is a 6-foot, 7-inch, 230-pound big body with great length from Sulphur Springs, Texas. The Sooners see him as a talented rim protector who can also contribute offensively. Iwuakor will probably be slotted as a power forward.
Jalen Hill also stands 6-foot, 7 inches but has a much leaner frame than Iwuakor. Another player rated in the top 100 nationally, Hill is out of Las Vegas and was runner-up for Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year last season. Kruger says he has known about Hill since his time as head coach at UNLV (2004-11). The Sooners’ like Hill’s versatility and believe he can play three or four different positions.
Alondes Williams is listed as a 6-foot, 5-inch guard who comes from the junior-college ranks. He played last season on the NJCAA Division II national championship team at Triton College outside of Chicago, where he averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He has played shooting guard and both forward positions and has a good shooting touch from the perimeter.
The final member of the Sooners’ 2019 class, as it stands today, is Corbin Merritt, a 6-foot, 9-inch center out of Tallahassee, Florida. Merritt has not signed a National Letter of Intent as of Wednesday, but still remains committed to the Sooners. Merritt is rated as the No. 7 player coming out of the JUCO ranks.
The addition of Williams and Merritt will give Oklahoma experience at the college level and help replenish some of the depth the Sooners will lose this season.