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Five Questions for... Oklahoma Sooners

Welcome to Five Questions for... Oklahoma Sooners.

Here you'll see five of the most pressing questions for the Sooners and our response to them. Feel free to contribute your answers in the comments section.

1. Jeff Capel and Oklahoma finally parted ways after a disastrous couple of seasons. What do you think about new head coach Lon Kruger?

2. What do you think Kruger should do to help turn the Sooners around?

3. Oklahoma brings everyone back but Cade Davis. Unfortunately, they don’t bring in any high profile recruits. Who do you expect to step up for the Sooners in Davis’ absence?

4. Oklahoma’s nonconference schedule is pretty weak, other than Arkansas and possibly Villanova (depending on how the 76 Classic pans out). Is this a good or bad idea for a team that finished under .500 last season?

5. After a couple of promising seasons, including Blake Griffin's dominant NPOY season Oklahoma has dropped back off the radar. Do you expect the Sooner basketball to be relevant in the near future?

See our answers after The Jump.

1. Jeff Capel and Oklahoma finally parted ways after a disastrous couple of seasons. What do you think about new head coach Lon Kruger?

Evan Pfaff: I thought the NBA was the league of recycled coaches, but with Billy Gillispie and Lon Kruger coming back, the Big 12 may challenge that title.
I think it was a good, but not great hire for OU. I think it will serve as an interim stop-gap in their losing ways. Kruger brings a reputable name and conference knowledge, along with a tradition of winning. I do think he can help to revitalize the program and then will probably ride into the sunset in 4-5 years.

Joe Lloyd: I personally am not sure about the decision since while OU is a darn good job it's not like players flock there without the coach having to make tons of effort. You heard rumors about Kruger not being 100% active anymore on recruiting trail and while he isn't old I can't see him out on the recruiting trail like a Josh Pastner at Memphis or a John Calipari at Kentucky. I do think he is a good coach who should help improve the program but to what degree of improvement I don't know.

Matt Patton: I like the hire. I think Kruger is a solid coach that will get them back to conference relevance. Though I do agree with you Joe; I think he has a ceiling defined by the talent he's able to bring to Norman. These first couple of classes will be very important for him to establish a reputation of success.

2. What do you think Kruger should do to help turn the Sooners around?

EP: Until the past few seasons, Oklahoma has been as good as anyone in conference, so they have a tradition of winning. If Kruger can instill that idea back into the players’ minds, and the Soners start winning, recruits will again come to Norman and OU will again compete for the conference crown. This won’t happen overnight, but it can happen.

JL: Pretty simple in my mind, hire assistant coaches who can recruit their butts off. And going off a topic we discussed with Iowa State, maybe Kruger should look at taking in a talented transfer looking for a new home.

MP: Definitely agree with both of you. Hiring people who know the area (especially Texas) will be critical for success and convincing both the administrators and the fans that things are moving in the right direction.

3. Oklahoma brings everyone back but Cade Davis. Unfortunately, they don’t bring in any high profile recruits. Who do you expect to step up for the Sooners in Davis’ absence?

EP: I am high on Cameron Clark. Despite not averaging 10 points a game last season, I think he will step it up in his sophomore year and become the leading scorer for a Sooner team in need of scoring.

JL: I think for OU to be successful they need incoming PG juco recruit Sam Grooms to step up and assume a leadership role on the team. They have some talent in Cameron Clark, Steven Pledger & Andrew Fitzgerald but they need a consistent point guard to get everything started.

MP: I like Clark too, but I think the guy the Sooners need to step up is Andrew Fitzgerald. He used tons of possessions last season but wasn't particularly effective. If he can find a more consistent shot, he could be huge for the offense.

4. Oklahoma’s nonconference schedule is pretty weak, other than Arkansas and possibly Villanova (depending on how the 76 Classic pans out). Is this a good or bad idea for a team that finished under .500 last season?

EP: Bad. Look at Iowa State last season. 13-3 in non-conference then 3-13 in conference. If you don’t test yourself outside of the Big 12 you will not be ready for the conference grind. I do feel there are things to be learned by playing "lesser" opponents, but the best teams sprinkle competition between those games. And let’s be honest. This isn’t football. A loss won’t kill you, but a poor SOS will.

JL: I might disagree to some degree that it's really weak, they have a road game at Cincinnati & a game against Washington State in the 76 Classic in addition to the two games you mentioned and a home game with Oral Roberts who is usually tough. I think that the mixture of those contests along with some easy games is a good formula for a team like this that needs some competition but also quite a few games where they can gain some confidence.

MP: That's true, Joe. It's not that weak (especially when you look at the returning players for Oklahoma). I still think they would benefit from playing a tougher schedule. Let's face it: this isn't a team that will likely be on the fringe of the NCAA Tournament field. This is a team that needs to grow and develop, and I'm not sure the nonconference schedule will have them ready for conference play.

5. After a couple of promising seasons, including Blake Griffin's dominant NPOY season Oklahoma has dropped back off the radar. Do you expect the Sooner basketball to be relevant in the near future?

EP: I don’t see why not. They have always been contenders; in fact Kansas is the only conference school to have an all-time winning record against the Sooners. They just a solid year and solid recruiting class and they’ll be back.

JL: Depends how relevant you mean. I definitely think they can be an upper half of the Big 12 team again but I just don't see Lon Kruger elevating this team much higher than that.

EP: That's a great stat about the Sooners having a winning record against the Big 12 (minus KU). It's easy to forget about a team's success after a couple of bad seasons. I definitely think OU can be a regular name in the top half or top quarter of the conference, but I don't expect the Sooners to become a perennial top seed for the NCAA.