OU basketball: Je'lon Hornbeak makes subtle changes

Instead of driving with his dominant hand — his right — the Oklahoma sophomore guard is trying to broaden his game by concentrating on ignoring that side during practice.
by Ryan Aber Published: July 29, 2013
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photo - BIG 12 TOURNAMENT / OU COLLEGE BASKETBALL / CELEBRATION: Oklahoma's Je'lon Hornbeak (5) walks off the court as Iowa State celebrates following the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's basketball championship tournament game between the University of Oklahoma and Iowa State at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Thursday, March 14, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT / OU COLLEGE BASKETBALL / CELEBRATION: Oklahoma's Je'lon Hornbeak (5) walks off the court as Iowa State celebrates following the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's basketball championship tournament game between the University of Oklahoma and Iowa State at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Thursday, March 14, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

NORMAN — Je'lon Hornbeak has made a subtle change in practice.

Instead of driving with his dominant hand — his right — the Oklahoma sophomore guard is trying to broaden his game by concentrating on ignoring that side during practice.

“Most of my drives in practice are left-handed,” Hornbeak said this week as the Sooners continue practice in advance of a trip to France and Belgium that begins next week. “Just to show something different and get comfortable with it.

“It's just about being more comfortable so whichever way I go, they (defenders) have to square me up instead of just forcing me one way.”

Hornbeak sometimes felt uneasy with the ball last season.

“I'm just working on handling it under control at my pace, speeding up and changing pace and things like that and just reading the floor,” he said. “I felt like I could read the floor last year, I just wasn't comfortable with the ball. Now, I feel more comfortable with it and it's getting better.”

Hornbeak's offseason didn't get off to a roaring start.

Not long after the Sooners were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, Hornbeak suffered a stress fracture in his foot that kept him out of action for a few weeks.

Hornbeak was ready to get back to work after a disappointing first-round exit and instead had to sit and watch.

“We really took it hard, even though we did make it to the NCAA Tournament,” Hornbeak said. “That just wasn't enough for us. We wanted even more. That really helped us work even harder and push each other even harder, then I got hurt.”

Hornbeak has come back strong, though, showing no effects of the foot injury that slowed him in the spring.

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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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