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OU men's basketball: Austin Reaves ready to play after missing entire season

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Austin Reaves

Former Oklahoma center Jamuni McNeace, before the start of the 2018-19 season, was asked about Austin Reaves — then a redshirt sophomore — and what it was like practicing with him.

"He's probably one of the most talented guys I've played against," McNeace said.

Reaves joined the Sooners after deciding to transfer from Wichita State. In his sophomore season with the Shockers, Reaves made 42.5 percent of his 3-point attempts. If he didn't impress his new teammates with his Wichita State playing time, then it was at Oklahoma practices where he made his mark with his shooting and ball handling.

"We didn't know he could dribble like that, especially when he played at Wichita," McNeace said back in October of 2018.

McNeace described a practice where Reaves made two half court shots in a row.

"Steph Curry range?" a reporter asked.

"Austin Reaves range," McNeace said.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, now-redshirt junior Reaves didn't play in the 2018-19 season. His talents were only seen in practice. The 3-point ace — who hasn't played a game since April of 2018 — will finally be introduced to Sooner fans for the 2019-20 season. 

"Just watching the games, of course," Reaves said on Thursday, when asked about the hardest part of not playing. "It gets to game time and you're ready to play and you just can't. You're stuck on the bench."

But with the waiting, Reaves took it upon himself to gain weight. Coming out of high school, Reaves said he weighed 162 pounds, and that he came to OU weighing around 180. During his time on the Oklahoma bench, Reaves got up to 200 pounds.

"The biggest thing was in the weight room, getting stronger," Reaves said. "It's not easy. I left high school at 162 so I was really really really small. It's just helped me in different ways — finishing in the paint, getting hit — things like that. Normal things you would think about with putting on weight."

Reaves will be revealed to Sooner Nation alongside head coach Lon Kruger's 2019 recruiting class, which ranks No. 15 in the nation, per Rivals. Even though he has yet to play in a Sooners uniform, he's taking on a leadership role.

"Just be a leader, (be) vocal and try to help the young guys go through the things that I've already been through," Reaves said. "I've been through a lot of things, I've been to the tournament two years in a row, things like that."

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