Sooners Illustrated takes a quick look at Oklahoma's key players

Freshman Christian James hopes for full recovery from injury and to contribute immediately off the bench

Two weeks from the start of the regular season against Memphis and Sooners Illustrated is set to breakdown the 11 scholarship players on the Sooners’ roster.

We’ll look at importance for this year’s team, a quick recap of last season and a project final stat line.

No. 3 Christian James (6-foot-4, 218 pounds)

Missed all of his senior season with a broken tibia, averaged 20 points and 8 rebounds as a junior. 

What happened last year: After breaking his tibia in the final tournament of the AAU season, James watched the entire regular season from the bench at Bellaire High School. He played a little in the playoffs but never reached 100 percent.

Level of importance for Oklahoma (1-10): 2. James doesn’t have to make much of a difference for Oklahoma – barring some sort of major injury. He’s likely the third wing off the bench right now. And that’s only if Dante Buford plays exclusively in the frontcourt. James just isn’t looking at a lot of minutes. He’s still trying to transfer the weight he gained during his injury back into muscle and completely heal from the broken leg. It’ll happen. It just doesn’t need to happen right now.

What Oklahoma needs from James is good decision making. For the time he’s in the game, James needs to not make big mistakes and play hard. He has great vision, just use it. 

Projected stat line: 2 points per game, 1 assists per game, 8 minutes per game, 35 percent shooting

There’s not gonna be a lot of activity in James’ ledger on the stat sheet. Oklahoma needs him to make the hustle plays – driving for loose balls, crashing the glass.

If he can do that, he’ll set himself up to be a contributor moving forward.

His goals, his words: “Everybody wants a national championship, but I feel we can really do that this year. I know that I haven’t played in any collegiate games yet, but seeing how far they made it last year, the team that we have this year, I think we should go pretty far. My goal is just to contribute right off the bat. Whatever I can do: Bring energy, play defense, rebound.


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