When Kruger arrived in Norman, he inherited a mess of a program that had been ravaged by major recruiting violations and had posted 36 losses — the most in a two-year stretch at Oklahoma since the late 1950s. Kruger led Oklahoma to another losing record in his first season on the job, before snapping the Sooners out of their doldrums. Oklahoma has made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament.
Last season, the Sooners returned to the national rankings for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign and finished the season 21st in the rankings. The last time the Crimson and Cream Machine ended a season ranked was when the 2008-09 squad claimed the No. 7 spot in the final poll.
What can hoops fans expect from the Sooners in 2014-15? Let's find out as we take you behind the coach speak with this by-the-numbers analysis of Oklahoma's team heading into the new season.
68: The percentage of Oklahoma's scoring production from last season that returned for 2014-15. The returning players for the Sooners includes four incumbent starters and 11 total letter-winners, six of whom averaged 9.1 or more minutes per game for a team that finished second in the Big 12 race.
81.9: The number of points Oklahoma scored per game last season, which ranked seventh in all of Division I and was second in the Big 12. Only Iowa State (5th with 83 ppg) wielded a more prolific offense among Big 12 squads. The Sooners' offensive output last season was historic in several ways. Oklahoma's scoring average was the highest for the team in two decades. The team cracked the 80-point plateau 18 times — after scoring 80 or more 17 times combined in the three seasons prior — and set a team single-season record with 8.6 3-pointers made per game.
5: The number of different programs that Kruger has taken to the NCAA tournament. Besides OU, he also led Florida, Kansas State, Illinois and UNLV to the Big Dance, making multiple appearances at each of those coaching stops. In fact, a Kruger-coached team has made some sort of postseason tournament 19 times in 24 seasons as a head coach in Division I.
149: The Oklahoma freshman record for made free throws in a season. Jordan Woodard didn't set that record in 2013-14, but the 6-0 guard came darn close, sinking 146 shots from the charity stripe while starting all 33 games, scoring in double digits on 18 occasions and tallying five or more assists 16 times while compiling a 2.17 assist-to-turnover ratio that ranked fifth among all Big 12 players.
71: The increase in the number of 3-pointers Buddy Hield made last season when compared to his stats as a freshman for the Sooners. A 6-4 junior, Hield sank 90 shots from the land of plenty in 2013-14, the sixth-highest total in a season for an Oklahoma player in team history, while also improving his shooting beyond the arc by more than 15 percent. Hield established himself as Oklahoma's top scorer and one of the top perimeter threats in the entire league, ranking 10th in scoring with a 16.5-point average. Hield had a very busy summer, spending time at both the Kevin Durant and LeBron James camps and also getting work in for the national team of his native country, the Bahamas.
15: The number of games last season in which 6-8 sophomore forward Ryan Spangler grabbed 10 or more rebounds. The rest of the Sooners on the 2013-14 squad combined for just five double-digit rebound performances. Spangler, a transfer from Gonzaga, definitely made an impact for Oklahoma. He totaled 10 double-doubles, ranking second in the Big 12 in that statistical category, while shooting 58.4 percent from the field.
1: As in one senior on scholarship. That's D.J. Bennett, a career reserve. The only other senior on the roster is James Fraschilla, a walk-on and the son of former coach and current TV basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla.
32: The number of wins tallied last season by Iowa Western Community College, the previous home of Dinjiyl Walker, a junior-college transfer who is expected to provide depth in the backcourt behind Woodard. The 6-1 Walker is a junior who averaged 16.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists while Iowa Western rolled to the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
3: The number of different places that Khadeem Lattin played for during his high school career. Two of those were in the Houston area — no surprise considering that the 6-9 Sooners freshman is a Houston native. But he also spent his sophomore season and a portion of his freshman year playing for the Canarias Basketball Academy, which is located in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain and has earned the reputation of being a reliable reservoir of foreign talent to import to the Division I ranks. Lattin comes from a very strong basketball pedigree. His grandfather, David Lattin, started for the 1966 Texas Western team that Don Haskins coached past Kentucky in the title game of the NCAA tournament. The number three also can stand for the number of seasons — and championships won — that Lattin's mother Monica Lamb compiled in the WNBA for the Houston Comets.
82: The height of Jamuni McNeace in inches, a 6-10 freshman center who will be the tallest player on the Oklahoma roster this season. McNeace didn't even start playing organized basketball until his sophomore year of high school; he got cut from his freshman team the prior year. Imagine what attention McNeace would be drawing had he stayed on the gridiron, given his height and 7-4 wingspan. As it is, the Sooners should be pretty happy about the rangy big man they've added to the fold.