May 18, 2014, 8:33 PM EDT
Oklahoma has landed one of the top available transfers remaining, with former Houston forward TaShawn Thomas committing to join Lon Kruger’s program. The news was first reported by Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle, and it’s a big development for the Sooners.
In three seasons at Houston, Thomas averaged 14.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game and last season was a member of the American Athletic Conference’s second-team all-conference squad. Thomas shot 59.1% from the field as a junior, and he reached double figures in 30 of the 33 games he played in (eight double-doubles).
Thomas and former teammate Danuel House made the decision to leave Houston following the departure of James Dickey, but they ran into roadblocks as they attempted to gain their respective scholarship releases. The two were finally given conditional releases in mid-April.
Thomas picked Oklahoma over Miami, and according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com there’s a chance that the forward could apply for a waiver that would make him eligible immediately. And if that were to happen, Oklahoma would be well-positioned to account for the 15.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game that the now-departed Cameron Clark provided in his senior season (OU lost Tyler Neal as well).
Oklahoma returns three of its top four scorers in guards Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard, and formidable interior presence Ryan Spangler will be back as well. But the addition of Thomas would give Oklahoma a valuable piece in the paint, with his ability to score on the low block consistently being an asset Kruger and his staff can put to good use.
In addition to Thomas the Sooners are adding four players to the program this summer, junior college guard Dinjiyl Walker, forwards Dante Buford and Khadeem Lattin and center Jamuni McNease. Given the lack of experience in the front court (senior D.J. Bennett played just 9.8 mpg last season) outside of Spangler the addition of Thomas is a big one, especially if he’s able to play immediately.
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