KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Oklahoma’s wild ride to the Final Four last spring was fueled by Buddy Hield’s shooting, Isaiah Cousins’ court vision and Ryan Spangler’s power in the post.
All of them are gone this season.
The turnover isn’t limited to the Sooners, either.
Of all the leagues playing major college basketball, perhaps none will have a fresher look this season than the Big 12. The old guard that became household names – Georges Niang at Iowa State, Devin Williams at West Virginia and Perry Ellis at Kansas – either graduated or left school early, leaving in their wake dozens of starting jobs at schools across the league.
“Given the number of seniors we had graduate last year, a lot of new roles and minutes available,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “It’s not great to be young in any league, the Big 12 especially.”
Indeed, looking at the All-Big 12 teams of a year ago is likely to make some fans feel nostalgic, especially when you consider that the entire first team and 11 of the 15 players overall have departed.
That includes Hield, Niang and Ellis, who were joined on the first team by Texas guard Isaiah Taylor and Baylor forward Taurean Prince. Williams and Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. left school after their junior years, while the Cousins and Spangler joined the Mountaineers’ Jaysean Paige and big man Rico Gathers of Baylor in exhausting their eligibility.