A lot of the vital parts of the machine are back so it came as a bit of a shock when sophomore guard Je'lon Hornbeak decided to transfer. After starting almost every game as a freshman, Hornbeak was relegated to backup point guard for freshman Jordan Woodard.
Some of that had to do with Woodard's ability, while Hornbeak's constant foot injuries before the season and during the nonconference part of the season didn't help matters.
Hornbeak said goodbye to OU and its fans last week and has transferred to Monmouth. The Hornbeak door has closed to let a new one open.
And combo guard Dinjiyl Walker is ready to bust down that door. Following two seasons at Iowa Western Community College, it took one visit to Norman for Walker to end any sort of drama and sign with the Sooners.
"After meeting Coach Kruger, all the assistants and playing with the players on my visit, I felt Oklahoma would be a great fit," Walker said. "I really like the way they play – fast and like to get up and down. My mom and I were very impressed with the academic center."
Walker could be the answer to backup point guard for the upcoming season, but he's also a lot more than that. He averaged 16 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game last season.
"I think I bring a lot of things to the table, mostly scoring and distributing the ball," Walker said. "I like to play combo guard, which is what OU is bringing me in to do. I can shoot it and get to the rack, and I like to create openings and feed my teammates."
Originally from Vaughan, Canada, just outside of Ontario, Walker played his final couple of high school years in Pennsylvania and is ready to come to Norman.
"I think I bring a lot of things to the table, mostly scoring and distributing the ball," Walker said. "I like to play combo guard, which is what OU is bringing me in to do. I can shoot it and get to the rack, and I like to create openings and feed my teammates.
"If they're hitting shots, that makes me feel as good as when I'm hitting shots."
The Sooners went 23-10 last season, finishing second in a loaded Big 12 conference. Despite not ending on a high note, this season is poised to be a big one for OU. Kruger's club returns 68 percent of its scoring, 70 percent of rebounding and 73 percent of assists.
"Dinjiyl brings the versatility to play both the point and off-guard positions," Kruger said. "He's the type of player who makes his teammates better."
The addition of Walker could finalize OU's roster for next season. The Sooners are still waiting to hear on what power forward TaShawn Thomas is going to do.