Oklahoma received its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2017 Thursday night, and the Sooners have managed to keep an in-state prospect home. 6-foot-8 forward Brady Manek, who attends Harrah HS in Harrah, Oklahoma, announced via Twitter that he’ll play his college basketball for Lon Kruger.
Manek held offers from programs such as Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Oral Roberts, Creighton, Mercer and Santa Clara, and he took an unofficial visit to Oklahoma State earlier this week. And Brady’s the second verbal commitment in the Manek family in the last two months, as older brother Kellen verbally committed to Oral Roberts in mid-August.
Manek played his grassroots basketball for the Oklahoma Wizards Elite program this summer on the adidas Gauntlet circuit. Brady still has two years of high school basketball to play, which leaves room for progression for a player who can score both around the basket and from the perimeter.
At present time Oklahoma has two scholarship upperclassmen in its front court rotation in senior Ryan Spangler and junior Akolda Manyang. Among those who will have eligibility remaining when Manek arrives on campus are sophomore Khadeem Lattin, redshirt freshmen Dante Buford and Jamuni McNease and 2016 commits Kristian Doolittle and Matt Freeman.
Oklahoma is returning a lot of talent to a NCAA tournament team and they’ll be among the top candidates again the Big 12 next season. Before playing in the conference schedule in 2015-16, the Sooners will challenge themselves with many tough opponents. The team announced their non-conference schedule late this week.
Oklahoma starts the season with a road game at Memphis before hosting Wisconsin and playing a neutral site game against Villanova in Hawai’i.
After returning home for home games against Oral Roberts and Creighton, the Sooners return to Honolulu to play in the Diamond Head Classic. The field for that event includes Auburn, BYU, Harvard, Hawai’i, New Mexico, Northern Iowa and Washington State.
“Without a doubt this is one of the most ambitious non-conference schedules we have ever put together,” Kruger said in the release. “But given the experienced makeup of our team, we feel it is appropriate. Our guys are looking forward to the many challenges in non-conference play and have been working hard since the end of last season to give us the best chance of being successful throughout the coming year. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Here is what the non-conference schedule looks like for the Sooners.
Nov. 17 at Memphis
Nov. 20 McNeese State
Nov. 24 Incarnate Word
Nov. 29 Wisconsin
Dec. 3 Central Arkansas
Dec. 7 vs. Villanova at Honolulu, Hawai’i
Dec. 12 Oral Roberts
Dec. 19 Creighton
Dec. 22 vs. Diamond Head Classic Honolulu, Hawai’i
Dec. 23 vs. Diamond Head Classic Honolulu, Hawai’i
Dec. 25 vs. Diamond Head Classic Honolulu, Hawai’i
Jan. 30 at LSU
With the Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard receiving the majority of the minutes on the perimeter this season, there weren’t many opportunities for the other guards on Oklahoma’s roster this season. And with all three expected to be back next season, that may once again be the case in 2015-16.
One of the guards impacted was sophomore Frank Booker, who has decided to transfer with the school announcing the news on Wednesday.
“I had a great experience here,” Booker said in the release. “I appreciate Coach Kruger giving me the opportunity to come play basketball at OU. I’ve grown a lot since I’ve been here. It was a hard decision, but it simply came down to the opportunity to return closer to home and to get more playing time.”
Booker averaged 5.0 points in just over 14 minutes of action per game, shooting 32.9 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from beyond the arc. 119 of the Georgia native’s 146 field goal attempts were three-pointers, with Hield, Cousins and Woodard being more capable of attacking teams off the dribble.
Booker will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, and sitting out next season per NCAA transfer rules could be a positive for him in regards to how productive he can be for the remainder of his college career. Do that, and Booker will be able to take advantage of the increased playing time he hopes to find at his next school.