Oklahoma Sooners: Amath M'Baye
The Sooners 14-game non-conference slate features seven home games including a Dec. 29 contest against Ohio, one of the darlings of March Madness 2011. Road games at Arkansas (Dec. 4) and Oral Roberts (Nov. 28) highlight their road slate.
The November schedule sets up well for the Sooners, who return their entire starting five from last season and lost just two contributors from the roster.
After spending their Thanksgiving in Florida, OU faces the toughest stretch of its non conference schedule with games at Arkansas, in Oklahoma City against Texas A&M and back to back home games against Stephen F. Austin and Ohio. Fortunately for Lon Kruger’s squad, those four games will be played in a span of 25 days and make up the majority of OU’s December schedule because of finals.
OU will appear on national television 17 times this season (11 on ESPN or ESPN2, 6 on ESPNU), six more than last season.
The Sooners enter this season with plenty of optimism with the addition of Wyoming transfer Amath M'Baye along with talented freshman guards Buddy Hield, Je’Lon Hornbeak and Isaiah Cousins. They join a roster which returns six players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game in Kruger’s first season.
ESPN.com college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla wrote a blog this week on possible breakout players for the 2012-2013 season and included Oklahoma's Amath M'Baye, a Wyoming transfer who sat out last season for the Sooners. Fraschilla, whose son James is a walk-on guard for OU, thinks M'Baye will make an immediate impact next season. Here's what he wrote:
The 6-foot-9 Wyoming transfer, who averaged 12 points and six rebounds as a sophomore before leaving the Cowboys, may have been Oklahoma's best player in coach Lon Kruger's first season in Norman. Unfortunately, the only people who know that are those who watched the Sooners practice, including a number of NBA scouts.
His talent and competitive nature has been on display during his transfer season as he challenged his teammates while playing on the scout team.
“He clearly is the most competitive [player on the roster],” coach Lon Kruger said. “And that will change a lot of the other guys.”
Kruger also expects M'Baye to step in as a leader on the squad.
“Amath is very naturally a leader,” Kruger said. “This year we had guys, [Romero Osby] really worked at it, but that’s not his natural personality. For Amath it is. That’s good for the other guys, it’s one less thing they have to worry about and Amath wants that.”
“We didn’t have the threat of minutes -- there’s got to be some risk involved,” Kruger said. “They wanted to do it, they wanted to be more physical but a lot of times it’s get it done or come sit over here.
“This year it was get it done... or try again next time. That’s not the way you want to do it.”
With transfer Amath M'Baye becoming eligible and signees Buddy Hield and Je'lon Hornbeak joining the squad, OU’s depth should improve and competition for minutes should increase.
“That’s human nature,” Kruger said of the threat of less minutes changing the overall competitiveness on the team. “We all react to that.”