Thomas the missing piece for OU?

The Sooners are ready for a big fourth season under Lon Kruger and the addition of TaShawn Thomas will certainly help things.

Expectations are going to be high for Oklahoma as the fourth season for Lon Kruger approaches. And if TaShawn Thomas is ruled eligible, those expectations are going to be just that much higher.

That's just how big of a piece to the puzzle Thomas can be, who officially transferred to OU last month from Houston. Thomas led the Cougars with 15.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.7 blocks per game and shooting 59 percent from the field.

Thomas, who is 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, decided to leave Houston following the hiring of Kelvin Sampson as the head coach. Coincidentally, Sampson helped make his name following his great tenure in Norman that included a 2002 Final Four appearance.

But Thomas wanted a new home, and Norman is his destination.

"When I got my release, OU was one of the first schools to contact me and show interest," Thomas said. "That caught my attention. When I got to Norman, I just fell in love with the campus. It's beautiful."

Kruger and assistant coach Lew Hill put in the work to land Thomas, who was also strongly considering Miami (Fla.). Thomas said the positive vibe he felt from the coaches and players helped make the decision a lot easier.

There's no guarantee Thomas will be able to play this season. He will have to be cleared by the NCAA. Regardless, Thomas has one year of eligibility, and the Sooner can certainly use his services.

"We're just delighted to add a person and player of TaShawn's caliber," Kruger said. "He's terrific on the court. He's terrific off the court. Everyone who we talked with at University of Houston had nothing but great things to say. We're just really looking forward to his contributions to our program and university."

If Thomas is given the green light this season, it will be huge for the Sooners. OU is loaded at the guard position, but it's clear the Sooners need a little help in the frontcourt.

And it's clear it's something Thomas considered in his decision.

"I've got one year to play so I wanted to go to a program that's already good," Thomas said. "A place I could help be even better. With OU, they were going to be good whether I chose them or not. But with that said, I feel like I can be a big help to the team."

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories