Five questions: OU basketball

OU begins its basketball season Friday afternoon in Dallas. Some questions to ponder as Sooners begin their third season with Lon Kruger.

Year No. 3 with Lon Kruger begins for Oklahoma on Friday afternoon. The Sooners start their season with a showdown against Alabama at 4 p.m. CST in Dallas.

Following a surprise trip to the NCAA tournament last season, what's in store for the Sooners this time around?

Where is the leadership going to come from?

An obvious question. It won't be easy replacing Romero Osby, who did so much for the team last season. Whether it was on the court or in the locker room or during practice, Osby was the heart and soul of the club. The early answer has been senior Cam Clark, who looks poised to make that leap that will be necessary for the Sooners to maintain their momentum.

Which big man is going to emerge first?

Last season forwards Ryan Spangler and D.J. Bennett didn't have a choice but to sit on the sidelines and absorb everything. Now is their chance and there is reason to be excited about both of them. Spangler is returning home after starring at Blanchard (Okla.) Bridge Creek High, while Bennett is starting to round into form after suffering a tendon injury. OU is loaded in the backcourt, but it's going to need Spangler and/or Bennett to become the go-to guy in the post.

How good can Jordan Woodard be?

A true point guard has arrived in Norman. Woodard, who was a part of two state championship winning teams at Edmond (Okla.) Memorial, is ready to make a splash as a freshman. The two exhibition games showcased what Woodard can do, but now we'll get to see what he can do when it really matters. Don't be shocked if Woodard is starting right out the gate. He has great poise, and more important than anything, he wants the ball. He wants to run the team.

How will the sophomore trio develop?

The Sooners are going to be expecting a heck of a lot from their trio of sophomore guards Je'lon Hornbeak, Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins. Hornbeak is moving more to a point guard position, while Cousins is moving to the wing. Hield could emerge as the team's No. 1 scoring option. All three are in new roles with new responsibilities. How they react and adapt to their new roles will say a lot about where OU is headed this season.

What can we expect this season?

The future is bright. OU is loaded at guard and its recruiting class is strong for post players. But what will that mean for this group? OU trailed at halftime against Oklahoma Christian on Monday night before finding its way in the second half. It's tough to envision the Sooners returning to the Big Dance, but Kruger always finds a way to get the best out of his players.

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