Kruger can “flat out coach”
At halftime of Oklahoma’s loss Wednesday night at Kansas, the buzz in the media room was “Lon Kruger can flat out coach.” A couple of reporters were discussing whether Kruger might be one of the most underrated coaches in the country.
The Jayhawks were on the verge of blowing out the Sooners but OU battled back to within 34-31 at halftime. Hitting its first 10 shots after intermission, No. 8 Kansas dominated the early segments of the second half to coast to an easy win at historic Allen Fieldhouse.
But heading into the home stretch of Kruger’s inaugural season in Norman it’s apparent the Sooners rarely, if ever, be at a coaching disadvantage.
The Sooners are improved. Individual players have improved. Part of that is a testament to players putting in the work. But it’s also a reflection of the impact being made by Kruger and his staff.
More than whether OU can reach the NIT, a realistic goal, this season is about laying a foundation for next season as much about where the Sooners finish in the Big 12 standings or their post-season fate.
Kruger’s comments in recent weeks have been revealing. He’s downplayed wins and losses. He’s stressed repeatedly the No. 1 goal is to improve on a daily basis, emphasizing the importance of learning how to compete mentally and physically in one of the top conferences in America.
Next season the Sooners essentially return their entire roster, losing only senior backup power forward C.J. Washington. A veteran team that will be bolstered five newcomers could develop into a top 25 team.
Progress is being made in Kruger’s inaugural season. Kruger and his staff are changing the culture. It’s another example of how the 59-year-old Silver Lake, Kan., product “can flat out coach.”
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