With forwards Amath M’baye and Romero Osby and guard Steven Pledger no longer in the program, Oklahoma’s summer trip to Belgium and France next month represents an opportunity for head coach Lon Kruger and his staff to evaluate the 2013-14 roster in game action before practices officially tip off in October.
One player who will not take part in the games is sophomore guard Buddy Hield, who according to the school will be held out of game action for precautionary reasons due to an issue with his right foot.
As a freshman Hield averaged 7.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest for the Sooners (20-12, 11-7 Big 12), who lost to San Diego State in their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2009.
Hield missed five games in late-February after suffering a broken bone in his right foot, and after playing just four minutes in the Sooners’ 83-70 win over West Virginia on March 6 he played double-digit minutes in each of Oklahoma’s final three games.
This is only a precautionary measure but it’s an important one, as Hield and fellow sophomores Isaiah Cousins (2.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg) and Je’lon Hornbeak (5.6, 2.7) will be asked to carry much of the load on the perimeter. Oklahoma also adds two freshmen to the mix in Jordan Woodard and Frank Booker, with both being allowed to make the preseason trip overseas.
While it would be good to have Hield on the floor with his teammates for these exhibitions, Oklahoma needs him to be at full strength when the “real” games begin in November. It’s better to be safe than sorry.