Sooner Men's Basketball Adds Four In Early Signing Period
Norman - OU head coach Lon Kruger announced Thursday the signing of four players to national letters of intent on the second day of the 2015-16 early signing period. Joining the Sooners in 2016-17 will be high schoolers Kristian Doolittle, Matthew Freeman and Kameron McGusty and junior college product Darrion Strong.
“We’re excited to sign Darrion, Kristian, Matthew and Kameron,” said Kruger, who is starting his fifth year at Oklahoma. “This is a talented group of young men who are not only great people, but great students. They each have great team-first attitudes and have extremely bright futures as Sooners.”
6-7, 215, F, Edmond, Okla. (Edmond Memorial High School)
An Oklahoma native, Doolittle is a 6-7, 215-pound forward from Edmond Memorial High School. He is ranked as the No. 60 overall player in the 2016 class by ESPN and a four-star recruit by 247Sports. Doolittle averaged 17.5 points and a Class 6A-leading 12.0 rebounds per game as a junior, earning him first-team honors by the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference.
Lon Kruger on Doolittle:
“Kristian is a local guy who knows a lot about our program. We’ve known about him since his ninth grade year. We love his attitude and his family. He’s been very well coached by Coach (Shane) Cowherd. He’s got good size and good versatility. He can shoot the ball very well and also put it on the floor and attack. As an Oklahoma kid, he’ll wear the OU uniform proudly.”
Edmond Memorial Head Coach Shane Cowherd on Doolittle:
“Kristian is a complete player. He’s a great defensive rebounder and very skilled with the basketball. He can shoot it well from perimeter and has a knack for going by people. He has a very effective post-up game as well. What makes him so dynamic is his versatility. He can command the basketball but can make other people on the court better, and that’s a skill that will serve us well in his senior season, as well as the University of Oklahoma in the future.
“Personally, he’s a great teammate, first and foremost. Players love to play with Kristian. He goes out of his way to let them shine. He’s a quiet kid, but extremely competitive and doesn’t like to lose. He’s experienced a lot of success in high school here at Memorial. One of the things that drew him to OU was the opportunity to stay close to home. More importantly, why he chose the University of Oklahoma was the great success of Coach Kruger and the program he has built in Norman.”
6-9, 220, F, Auckland, New Zealand (Westlake Boys High School)
Freeman is a 6-9, 220-pound forward from Auckland, New Zealand. He’s ranked as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and earned three stars from both Scout.com and 247Sports. He attended Westlake Boys High School and recently averaged 31.0 points and 13.0 rebounds in his senior season. In his final three games of his high school career, he scored a combined 135 points. At the recent Adidas Global Nations in California, he averaged 17.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists for the Asian Pacific Team. Due to the New Zealand school year ending in November, Freeman will enroll at OU this January (plans to redshirt the second semester).
Kruger on Freeman:
“Matt is a 6-9, very versatile guy who loves to play. He’s enthusiastic about coming to OU. We love people that really want to be here and be Sooners, and Matt very much so fits that profile. He’s very skilled and will bring a lot of versatility to Norman. He can score in a lot of different ways because he shoots the ball extremely well.
“It’s a huge advantage in that, in New Zealand, the school year ends at the calendar year, so they actually finish in November. Instead of just sitting around at home waiting, he decided to come now instead of in June. He’ll treat the spring semester like a redshirt year, so he’ll have that three to four months of additional work under his belt. He’ll get familiar working with our guys every day in the spring, as well as working and developing his game. It’s also important for him to get adjusted to the academic lifestyle.”
Westlake Boys High School Head Coach Dave MacKay on Freeman:
“The Sooners are getting a versatile big man, some like to call a stretch-four. Matt has great shooting range and can play on the perimeter. One advantage of playing international ball is that his shooting range is already at the current NBA 3-point line, so his adjustment to college should be easier. Over his career, he’s developed quite a bit of a skill set, allowing him to cover multiple positions.
“On his visit to Oklahoma, he loved the coaching staff. He recognized they were very player-focused. He could tell OU was a program on the rise and played in a conference that will really challenge him. As far as the university, he thought it was a very friendly campus with friendly people with a well-rounded student life.”
6-5, 170, G, Katy, Texas (Sunrise Christian Academy [Kan.])
A 6-5, 170-pound guard originally from Katy, Texas, McGusty is ranked as the 33rd and 40th overall recruit by Scout.com and ESPN.com, respectively. 247Sports named him the fifth-best shooting guard in the 2016 class and the sixth-best overall recruit from the state of Texas after averaging 22 points, five assists and three rebounds as a junior. Ranked as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com, he recently left Seven Lakes High School in Texas to enroll at Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kan., the alma mater of OU's Buddy Hield.
Kruger on McGusty:
“Kameron is a versatile player who can score in a lot of different ways. He’s 6-5 with good size and can play anywhere from the ‘one’ to the ‘three.’ He’s a rangy, athletic scorer who loves to play and really wants to be a Sooner. We are excited to add his skill set and overall game to the program next season.”
Sunrise Christian Academy Head Coach Luke Barnwell on McGusty:
“Kameron is a real slippery player. Just when you think there isn’t a way to get to the paint, he does. He’s great at changing his pace. As a defender, he’s hard to keep in front of. He has great feel and touch and he’s skilled at floaters and pull-up jumpers. When he locates a teammate open, he can drop the ball off. Defensively, he uses his length to guard the ball well and uses speed to stay in front of his opponent. Overall, he really knows how to play.”
6-1, 180, G, Oakdale, Minn. (Coffeyville [Kan.] Community College)
Strong is a 6-1, 180-pound guard originally from Oakdale, Minn. A three-star recruit by Rivals.com, Strong currently attends Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. As a freshman last season, he averaged 21.3 points and 2.2 assists per game while shooting .471 from the field and .420 from 3-point range. He was named freshman of the year and MVP of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference and was named a third-team NJCAA All-American. So far this season, Strong has played in three contests, averaging 28.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
Kruger on Strong:
“Darrion is a combo-guard coming in from junior college, so he’s a little more experienced and a player who can really shoot it. He’s a guy under Coach (Jay) Herkelman who is very well prepared and a good competitor who shoots the ball well.”
Coffeyville Community College Head Coach Jay Herkelman on Strong:
“Darrion is very good offensively and shoots a high percentage from the 3-point line. He’s quick and likes to attack. He has a knack for getting to the rim and is very crafty with the ball. He knows how to finish in traffic. He’s an extremely hard worker every day in practice. He’s our best player and, no coincidence, is our hardest working guy and is very coachable.
“He felt comfortable when he was down in Norman with his parents. Coach (Steve) Henson did a great job recruiting him. Also, the players made him feel comfortable and answered any questions about the program that he had. Everyone made him feel a part of the OU family. Coach Kruger and the program are getting a great one.”