Dean's Blog: Kruger Holds Team Meeting To Clear The Air About Lost Season
NORMAN, Oklahoma - Hours after sophomore guard Kameron McGusty announced his intention to leave the University of Oklahoma basketball program, informed sources told us head coach Lon Kruger had called a 2 p.m. meeting Monday. With backup point guard Jordan Shepherd announcing two days earlier his intention to leave, we’re told Kruger wanted to "stabilize things and find out if any other players were considering leaving."
Minutes ago, we’re told the meeting took place and that "the staff wanted to know who wanted to be with them… and talked about next year changing the culture: no more pouting, jealousy and that academics will be in order for everyone.”
We'd been told of "jealousies on the team during the season" significantly contributed to the Sooners going from a No. 4 national ranking midseason to one that struggled to make the NCAA Tournament, and is now meeting as a team to batten down the hatches.
Kruger is not expected to tell his players that he’s uncertain about his future, or that he was leaving. On the contrary, personally, I wholeheartedly believe the veteran coach will continue to lead the program, for two primary reasons: One, the ultra-competitive and well-respected Kruger is not the kind of guy to leave a program that is unsteady. And two, OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione is not about to seek a change. The nation’s preeminent AD has tremendous respect for the man he aggressively recruited to Norman in 2011. The educated hunch here is that he believes there’s no on more capable of handling things during turbulent times than the steady and sound, Lon Kruger.
No disagreement here.
To the surprise of no one, freshman sensation Trae Young announced last week that he’d forego his final three seasons at Oklahoma. Young and McGusty were roommates and were expecting big things for this past season. We’re told Young believed that the trio of him, McGusty and sophomore returning starting forward Kristian Doolittle, would form the nucleus of a dynamic threesome to lead the Sooners. However, Doolittle was suspended on academic issues and didn’t even begin practices until midway through the season. And he never reached his potential. So from the start, the plan flopped with only Young contributing from the start. And that’s an understatement.
And McGusty was not named a starter, instead coming off the bench for most of the season and seeing his playing time and production slipping from being the leading scorer on the team in Big 12 play as a freshman, to a lot of riding the pine and averaging eight points per game this season. We’re told that, not surprisingly, McGusty became disillusioned with the situation. But today’s announcement, that he plans to transfer, surprised a lot of folks. A couple of weeks ago immediately after OU was bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Rhode Island, McGusty reportedly admitted the season didn’t go the way he expected, but that it was only fueling him in the offseason.
Apparently, it's an offseason preparing to play at another school.
There’s much more to his developing story to bring you up to date on, but for now, that’s the most current and critical information. Please watch our 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. sportscasts on News 9 for our report and any updated information.