KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The night before Oklahoma senior forward Cameron Clark joined teammate Buddy Hield and coach Lon Kruger at Big 12 Media Day at the Sprint Center, Clark spent some time on the phone with former Sooners standout Romero Osby.
Osby was the leader of last year's OU team that went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.
With Osby, Amath M'Baye, Sam Grooms and others gone from that team, though, Clark is having to adjust to his new role as a leader.
That was one of the topics of discussion when the pair spoke Monday.
Osby told Clark, a quieter presence than Osby or even sophomore Hield, to do what came natural and not try to force things.
“He was just telling me to lead by example, just work hard and everything else will come,” Clark said.
Kruger has delivered a similar message. He's not asking Clark to be the kind of leader that Osby was. He is, though, wanting him to be part of that group.
“Last year, it was definitely Ro and everyone followed his lead,” Kruger said. “This year it'll be a little more by committee.
“Ro was much more outgoing and much more verbal in his leadership. Cam's done a nice job. We're not going to ask him to go to that uncomfortable area where he's just nervous, but I think he's going to find a comfortable area.”
The difference in Clark has been noticeable.
“He's coming out of his shell,” Hield said. “He's not quiet like he used to be. When I first came here, he was a quiet type. He didn't say anything. … He's one of the leaders of the team. Everybody listens to him. When he's got something to say, everybody shuts up. We respect that. We need that from a senior, from Cam.”
Clark isn't going to be one to be screaming at his teammates during practice, but he's not going to hesitate to provide quieter instruction.