With the loss of three guards since the end of the 2017-18 season, as Trae Young turned pro and Jordan Shepard and Kameron McGusty both decided to transfer, Oklahoma had some major holes to address as it looks towards the 2018-19 season. Lon Kruger and his staff have gone the grad student route in addressing those needs, with two immediately eligible newcomers signing with the program.
On Tuesday former Maine guard Aaron Calixte announced that he will transfer to Oklahoma for his final season of collegiate eligibility, nearly two weeks after former Pacific guard Miles Reynolds made his pledge. The 5-foot-11 Calixte, who played in just five games during the 2016-17 season due to a foot injury, averaged 16.9 points, 3.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game and was a third team all-America East selection in 2017-18.
Calixte finished the season with a possession percentage of 26.7 percent, a far cry from Young’s nation-high 38.5 percent mark. And as one would expect given Young’s influence and skill set, Oklahoma sets up to have a much different look on the offensive end of the floor in 2018-19.
Both Calixte and Reynolds, who averaged 13.3 points and 2.8 assists per game last season, have the ability to score as well as set up teammates. Given the personnel losses noted above, adding two experienced options on the perimeter was a necessity for an Oklahoma program that’s looking to build on a season in which it was able to get back into the NCAA tournament after missing out in 2017.
However, for as important as Calixte and Reynolds will be it’s important to note that neither will have to shoulder the load to the level that Young did during his lone season at Oklahoma. And if the Sooners are to make another NCAA tournament appearance in 2019, that will depend upon the progress made by returnees who served in supplementary roles this past season.
Brady Manek is coming off of a freshman season in which he averaged 10.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and Christian James, Rashard Odomes and Jamuni McNeace will all be valuable members of the rotation as well. If that quartet can take a step forward, that would undoubtedly help Calixte and Reynolds in their quest to be impact newcomers.