OU back to drawing board after decommitment

Sooners have other options to replace Payton Pritchard at 2016 PG

Payton Pritchard was once the highest-rated commit under Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger and the linchpin of what might have been the Sooners’ best recruiting class under the fifth-year coach.

The 4-star 2016 point guard, rated as the 52nd-best recruit in the nation, picked Oklahoma in November over interest from Wisconsin, Villanova, Oregon and Gonzaga.

He’s back on the open market after having de-committed from the Sooners late Monday night. Pritchard told Scout’s Evan Daniels that he’d still be open to returning to Oklahoma – something most say but few actually do.

Like it or not, Oklahoma has to move on – looking to rebuild a cornerstone of its 2016 class.

"He's been thinking about it," Payton Pritchard’s father, Terry, told Daniels on Monday night. "He just wants to be 100-percent sure. He's a mature kid. He wants to make sure (it’s) the right decision. He just wants to look at his options. He committed so early. He just wants to make the right choice."

Pritchard will likely have many different suitors that missed out nine months ago on one of the West Coast’s better prospects. Oklahoma has to go back to the drawing board.

So, where does Oklahoma go from here?

Go heavy back on Pritchard---- If Oklahoma still really wants a point guard for the 2016 class – and it probably does – there aren’t many options better than Pritchard. Getting back to the drawing board might take a lot less time with Pritchard, who is the eighth-best point guard still uncommitted in the 2016 class. Oklahoma had built a strong relationship with Pritchard, headed by assistant coach Steve Henson. The danger in that approach is that so often when a player de-commits from a school, he’ll say that he will keep that school in mind the next time around. That rarely pans out, and now, Oklahoma can’t spend too much time on a lost cause.

Look elsewhere for a point guard---- There are other options in the 2016 class. The Sooners have been in contact with DeJon Jarreau, a four-star point guard out of New Orleans who is actually rated higher than pitched. Jarreau, who has expressed a desire to go out of state, hadn’t heard much from the Sooners in the past but that could change. Former Sooners’ target J.J. Caldwell – a Texas A&M verbal – could be another fresh target. He and top wing Kameron McGusty have expressed a desire to play together in college. Roman Young, a combo point guard out of Sunrise Christian Academy, could be another option if Oklahoma wanted to head back to Buddy Hield’s alma mater. This route could be an option, but it’s likely to fall down to Young – or another target not yet on the board.

Ignore point guard all together for the 2016 class---- There’s a local point guard who is likely to be one of the best in the nation for the 2017 class: Norman North’s Trae Young. The Sooners have been on Young for a long time. He was even a ball boy for the Blake Griffin-led Sooners. If Oklahoma can secure Young, it could lead to an even bigger payday. Young has expressed a desire to play with MoKan Elite teammate Michael Porter – the No. 3 overall player in the country who named Oklahoma in his top 17. Oklahoma recently contacted Porter to tell him they wanted to be “strongly involved” in his recruitment. Oklahoma wants Young, and with the de-commitment of Pritchard, the Sooners need Young even more. He’s a long-time Sooners’ fan, and many expect Oklahoma to be in strong contention for his services until the very end. With or without Pritchard, the Sooners would have wanted Young.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories