Sooners 2016 point guard commit Payton Pritchard was asked by the Oklahoma men’s basketball coaching staff to reclassify into the 2015 class, making him eligible to play for Oklahoma next season, Pritchard’s father Terry confirmed to Scout on Tuesday.
Terry Pritchard told Scout’s Evan Daniels that it’s “not likely” to happen.
Payton Pritchard’s high school coach said a strenuous academic workload was at least part of the reason the to not make the jump.
“He’s not going to do it,” West Linn boys’ basketball coach Eric Viuhkola said. “It would have made for a tough spring and summer.”
Oklahoma couldn’t comment on the issue because of NCAA rules prohibiting coaches from publicly discussing non-signed high school players.
Viuhkola said that Payton Pritchard would have had extensive academic requirements in order to be eligible in the 2015 class that would have taken away any chance of him playing during the summer and spring in his final season with his father’s AAU team.
Pritchard, a 6-foot-1, four-star point guard, is the highest-rated commit under Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger. He is rated as the 41st overall player in the country and the seventh-best point guard in the 2016 recruiting class.
Pritchard was approached around mid-January about moving up in class, long before Oklahoma knew of Frank Booker’s decision to transfer from the school. At the time, Oklahoma didn’t have an open scholarship to give Pritchard for the 2015 class.
Oklahoma forward C.J. Cole has long been rumored to be interested in pursuing medical school. He is a pre-med, walk-on who earned a scholarship after redshirting his freshman season. Cole said Tuesday that he has not made a decision regarding medical school or leaving the team at this point and has no deadline to do so.
While leading West Linn to its third-straight Oregon 6A state title, Pritchard averaged 22 points and 5.8 assists per game. He is the Sooners’ first four-star commit since 2010 and the best overall commit in the past six years.
“I think they think the world of Payton," Viuhkola said of Oklahoma. "Payton has always played up even as a little kid. They went to him and said, ‘Hey, we think you’re ready right now. We really want to get you there, ASAP.’ . . . I think they looked into it, and I think the school part was just going to be too hard.”
Viuhkola said in an earlier interview at Pritchard has no trouble academically, but jumping up a class would cause for an extreme workload.