WEDNESDAY'S GAME BASICS
In the final tune-up before the 2017-18 regular season, Oklahoma hosts East Central in the Sooner Season Tipoff on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT. The exhibition contest gives many fans their first glimpse at this season's squad.
East Central, a Division II opponent from Ada, Okla., is coming off a 25-8 season that culminated in the school’s first appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
ON THE AIR
Wednesday’s exhibition contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing. The game will be televised by Sooner Sports TV on Fox Sports Oklahoma and Fox College Sports Central with Chad McKee, Bryndon Manzer and Jessica Coody calling the action.
All tickets for the game are just $5. Tickets are available at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here. Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. OU students will be admitted free to the game with a valid school I.D.
IN THE BONUS
The Sooner Season Tipoff will also include a postgame autograph session on the arena floor. The national anthem will be sung by 13-year-old Olivia Kay, who recently was featured on NBC's The Voice as part of a blind audition. At halftime, the Oklahoma men's gymnastics team will perform a pommel horse exhibition in preparation for its 2018 campaign.
OU students will receive a free white BoomSquad t-shirt upon entering the north student entrance.
Fans are encouraged to #ArriveSooner to avoid delays into the gates with new enhanced screenings. For more gameday tips at Lloyd Noble Center, visit the LNC's information page.
• East Central is the fifth NCAA Division II program from the state of Oklahoma to face the Sooners in exhibition play during the Lon Kruger era. The Sooners are 4-0 in such preseason contests, previously facing Southwestern Oklahoma State (2014), Oklahoma Christian (2013), Central Oklahoma (2012) and Northeastern State (2011).
• The Sooners will look for continued improvement and production from junior guard Christian James. Coming off a hard-working summer that included shooting 12-of-13 (.923) from 3-point range during the team's trip to New Zealand and Australia, James could be a key contributor for the Sooners this season. James wrote about his mindset heading into his junior year as part of a SoonerSports.com Signature Series.
• OU Athletics announced earlier this week that Nov. 10-12 will be recognized as Sooner Salute Weekend. The weekend’s events will feature the jersey honoring of Oklahoma women’s basketball great Courtney Paris Friday as the Sooners host Belmont, a salute to veterans during Saturday’s football game against TCU and fan appreciation day as OU men’s basketball opens its season Sunday at 2 p.m. CT against Omaha. Fans from across Sooner Nation attending Saturday’s top-10 football matchup between No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 8 TCU will be given free admission to Sunday’s OU men’s game. Fans can redeem their football tickets at the Lloyd Noble Center box office 90 minutes prior to tip-off for admission into both basketball games.
Christian James looks to carry over his summer success into the season.
Two freshmen projected to start in Wednesday’s contest are already known around the Norman area. Guard Trae Young (Norman) and forward Brady Manek (Harrah) are both local products with numerous high school accolades gearing up for their collegiate debut later this week.
Named a five-star recruit according to 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout, Young was named the second-best point guard in his national recruiting class by ESPN and third-best by 247Sports and Scout. Playing high school ball at Norman North HS - less than three miles away from the OU campus - Young averaged 42.6 points, 4.1 assists and 5.8 rebounds during his senior year while shooting 48.9 percent from the field. He earned McDonald’s All-America honors, becoming the fourth McDonald’s All-American from Oklahoma to play for OU, joining Sooner legends Blake Griffin, Wayman Tisdale and Jeff Webster.
A four-star recruit according to 247Sports, ESPN and Scout and a three-star recruit by Rivals, Manek joined the Sooners from Harrah HS, a 35 mile drive from Norman. Manek averaged a double-double in his senior high school season with 24.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 47.1 percent from the field.
BACKCOURT WORTH WATCHING
Oklahoma guards Kameron McGusty and Trae Young were voted by the Big 12 Conference’s head coaches as Preseason All-Big 12 Team honorable mention selections. The Sooners were one of only two Big 12 teams with two guards on the conference’s preseason honors list.
A sophomore from Katy, Texas, McGusty boasts the highest 2016-17 scoring average (10.9 points) among returning Sooners. The 6-5 guard upped his production to 14.4 points per game in Big 12 play last season – the fifth-most among all returning Big 12 players. McGusty’s success in conference play was highlighted by 15 consecutive games of double-digit scoring. Following his rookie campaign, McGusty was named an All-Big 12 honorable mention and member of the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team. He is the first OU freshman to earn All-Big 12 honors and All-Newcomer status since Tommy Mason-Griffin in 2009-10.
Additionally, Young was selected as one of 20 watch list candidates for the 2018 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Named after Hall of Fame point guard Bob Cousy, the annual honor recognizes the top point guards in Division I men’s college basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates. Young is one of only three freshmen featured on the watch list, joined by Trevon Duval (Duke) and Collin Sexton (Alabama).
The Sooners open the regular season on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT when they host the Omaha Mavericks at Lloyd Noble Center. The season opener will be televised by Sooner Sports TV on Fox Sports Oklahoma and Fox College Sports Central.
Sunday’s showdown is the first meeting between the Sooners and Mavericks. A recent addition to NCAA Division I, Omaha began its reclassifying process from NCAA Division II in 2012 by joining The Summit League.
Free admission will be granted to all fans with a ticket from Saturday's football game against TCU. For those without a football ticket, single-game men's basketball tickets start at just $10 at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here.