Porter Moser and Oklahoma basketball received some good news on Monday as center Tanner Groves and guard Elijah Harkless confirmed that they would be returning to the team for the 2022-23 season. The news was first reported by Jon Rothstein.
Rothstein also reports that Oklahoma guard Umoja Gibson will be exploring professional opportunities with an option to return to the school.
Groves is a senior who will return for his fifth season of college basketball. In his first year with Oklahoma after having transferred from Eastern Washington along with his brother Jacob Groves, Tanner finished second on the team in scoring with 11.6 points per game. He averaged 5.8 rebounds and 0.4 blocks per game as well. He played in all but one of the Sooners’ 35 games.
That wasn’t the case for Harkless, who missed the last nine games of the OU season due to a knee injury. Harkless finished the season averaging 10 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He’ll also be returning for his fifth collegiate season, and his third at Oklahoma.
Mo Gibson, who led the Sooners in scoring in 2021-22 with 13.3 PPG, will apparently be pursuing a professional career. Gibson was recently named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team after averaging 15 points between the Sooners’ games vs. Baylor and Texas Tech. Gibson, should he return, will play in his sixth collegiate season, split evenly between North Texas and OU.
Later in the day Bob Przybylo of SoonerScoop reported that the Sooners will also be retaining guard C.J. Noland.
Noland averaged 3.9 points in 12.6 minutes in his freshman season with OU, a 6-2 point guard out of Waxahachie whose minutes were a bit diminished once Oklahoma got into the meat of its Big 12 schedule. Still, Noland had his moments, providing a spark off the bench at several points in the season, especially in a pair of tight losses to eventual Big 12 champ Kansas.
The retention of Groves, Harkless and Noland is huge for Porter Moser as he’ll enter his second season with the team. Oklahoma basketball started the 2021-22 season out with a bang, but was beat up by a monstrous Big 12 schedule with a significant chunk of the team having never played at such a level. The continuity moving forward is a definite positive. Even moreso if Gibson should return as well.
Moser had a strong recruiting season prior to his first year with Oklahoma. He’ll already have a solid foundation to build on when he starts his second.