So much has changed with the Oklahoma basketball program.
And much of that begins with brothers Tanner and Jacob Groves.
The former Shadle Park and Eastern Washington standouts were among several transfers the Sooners brought in to make up for the talent lost from a squad that went 16-11 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Porter Moser arrived from Loyola-Chicago to replace retired coach Lon Kruger. And last year’s top three scorers have moved on. Austin Reaves is now with the Los Angeles Lakers. Brady Manek has transferred to North Carolina and De’Vion Harmon transferred to Oregon.
With holes to fill, Moser looked west.
Tanner Groves, a 6-9 forward, was the 2021 Big Sky Conference Player of the Year for EWU last year. He averaged 17.2 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 56.0% from the field as a junior last season. Jacob is a 6-7 forward who averaged 9.3 points and 4.2 rebounds for EWU last season while shooting 55.2% from the field as a sophomore.
The Groves’ brothers were dominant in the Eagles’ 93-84 first-round NCAA loss to Kansas last March, combining for 58 points. The pair announced their intentions to transfer last April.
“I think that in terms of March Madness and in terms of last season, I think that it had me in a mindset where it doesn’t matter who I play,” Tanner Groves said at a recent press conference. “I’ve just got to go out there with as much confidence as I can and we’ll see what happens.”
“(Tanner’s) got an energy about him,” Moser said. “He’s one of our loudest guys in practice every day. He’s communicating, he’s talking. He’s been a sponge to learn, watching tape, comes up, watches a ton of extra tape. He wants to be good.”
That’s part of the winning culture the Groves brothers brought with them from Eastern Washington.
“I’m just looking forward to stepping into a role of leadership and helping out some of the younger guys get on the same page and understand what needs to go into what it means to be part of a winning program,” Tanner said. “And so I’m just looking forward to all of that.”
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