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Collected wisdom: Former Oklahoma basketball star Aaron McGhee

by Ryan Aber Published: August 23, 2014

This weekend, former Oklahoma basketball standout Aaron McGhee returned to Norman for the first time since his Sooners playing career ended with the 2002 Final Four. In the semifinal loss to Indiana, McGhee had 22 points and eight rebounds. He was the second-leading scorer on that team, behind only Hollis Price. Even though he never played in the NBA, McGhee hasn’t quit playing basketball. He’s spent the last decade-plus traveling the globe, playing professionally in places like Ukraine, Israel, South Korea and, most recently, Russia. He’s still trying to decide where he’ll play this season. McGhee was back in Norman for the fourth annual Sooner Basketball Family Weekend.

I don’t know why it’s taken so long to get back. I really haven’t had the opportunity to come back for the alumni weekend because most of the time I’m gone by now, so that’s been the biggest part of it. I haven’t signed yet to go back over this time. I’ve got offers but I’m just waiting on the right one.

I wasn’t sure about going overseas initially. It was the whole not-knowing thing. Once you get into it and you realize the groove and everything of the overseas life, it’s OK. But that first initial year, it takes a lot of willpower and strength. It’s been awesome. I couldn’t be more blessed. It’s a great opportunity to see the world and do what you love to do. You can’t beat it.

China was probably the most eye-opening experience. It’s just a whole different culture all the way around. They’re getting more progressive but it’s just a culture shock — from the food to the way they conduct their everyday life, the way they eat. It’s just different.

For the most part, I never had any social problems when I’ve played in places like Ukraine, Russia or Israel. It’s always been after I left that it’s gone crazy. I never had a problem as far as that over there.

I think about my time here all the time. We did something special here that not too many incoming teams could do. The way we gelled as a team and the way coach (Kelvin) Sampson got us all to rally, it’s just something to be applauded. We were picked fifth in the league my senior year and we make it all the way to the Final Four, losing five games. Who would’ve thought that? We always knew we had the talent, but it kind of took on a life of its own. At midseason, we just kind of took off. I don’t think everybody around the program and everything was ready for it.

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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics 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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