OU aiming high for 2016 big man

Sooners targeting five pure post player in the Scout Top 100

By the time the 2016 men’s basketball recruiting class arrives at Oklahoma, the Sooners will be in desperate need for a big man.

Current starters Ryan Spangler and TaShawn Thomas, as well as key reserve forward D.J. Bennett, will be gone.

JuCo transfer Akolda Manyang will be a senior, Khadeem Lattin will be starting his junior season and Jamuni McNeace will be a redshirt sophomore – all at least three years into their careers.

Oklahoma will have plenty of size on the wing but won’t have that true post player.

That’s what the 2016 class has become now. After a pair of verbal commits from a point guard and a wing/post hybrid, Oklahoma is looking for that true post player.

And the Sooners’ are aiming high.

There are five big men who currently hold Sooners’ offers. Four of them are ranked in the Scout Top 100.

Three-star forward Papa N’diaye, who is currently rehabbing from an ACL tear, is the only one who isn’t. Marques Bolden (16th overall, DeSoto, TX), Zach Collins (68th overall, Bishop Gorman, NV), Joey Brunk (80th overall, Southport, IN) and Schnider Herard (86th overall, Prestonwood Christian, TX) all hold offers from Oklahoma.

Mustang forward Austin Meyer – a 6-foot-8 product on the No. 1 team in Oklahoma 6A – held an offer until it was recently withdrawn, according to his high school coach Terry Long.

Most come with a ton of offers. N’Diaye (out of Winston-Salem, N.C.) holds nine, including Oklahoma, Villanoca, Washington State and Mississippi State.

“I’ve started working out a little bit,” N’Diaye said when his workout was interrupted for an interview this week.

Brunk, at 6-foot-9, has offers from New Mexico, Xavier, Iowa, Purdue, Ole Miss, Indiana, Butler, Northwestern, Michigan State and Oklahoma.

But Brunk was on campus earlier this month.

“I had a great time when I was out there,” Brunk said. “It was a good experience with coach Kruger and coach Henson, for sure.”

By sheer coincidence, Brunk came on his unofficial visit with 2016 verbal commit Payton Pritchard. It wasn’t a coincidence that Oklahoma had interest in the back-to-the-basket big man.

Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger coached a family friend when he was at UNLV. Through the grapevine, the Sooners took interest in Brunk.

“He kind of put in a word for me,” said Brunk, who has visited Indiana, Butler and Oklahoma this month. “He told them about me and they came and watched. He did that, and that’s kind of how the relationship started.”

Like most of the Sooners’ 2016 targets, Brunk’s focus in on the season. Big man or wing player, Oklahoma will have to do much of its work in the off-season and summer.

Still, Brunk tries to watch as many games as he can. “I try to watch at many games as I can of the teams that are recruiting me,” said Brunk, who is working on his face-up game. “I try to watch as many of those games as possible.”

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories