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Oklahoma basketball: Je'lon Hornbeak learns to appreciate mother's advice

Oklahoma freshman guard Je'lon Hornbeak has always heard words of encouragement from his mother, but they got to be a little too much during the summer when his mother helped coach his AAU basketball team.
BY STEPHANIE KUZYDYM Published: January 10, 2013

Now, she's the one he seeks advice from.

“After a game it's, ‘Mom, how did you think I did?” Sheila said.

Hornbeak, a freshman who has started every game this season, is averaging 23.7 minutes (third-most on the team), 2.7 rebounds per game and 1.9 assists per game. He also leads the team in steals with 16.

“I grew up in a family of women,” said Je'lon, whose grandfather died when he was a child and who grew up in a single-parent household. “When I get done with a game, all my grandmother wants to talk to me about is my free throws and how could I miss a free throw.

“My sister will talk to me about what I did wrong and right in my game, and my mom will tell me what I need to improve on.”

Going just 18 for 27 in free throws, Je'lon has heard a lot from his grandmother this season.

“‘How can you miss something that's free?'” Je'lon said. “That's what she always asks me. I'm like, ‘It's harder than that.' She goes, ‘No, it's not. It's free.'”

His mom critiques him the same way. Today, Sheila says their communication is better, but they believe he should listen to them.

After all, that summer Sheila spent as an assistant coach, the team went to AAU Nationals and ended up in the Top 25.

For Je'lon and Oklahoma, the road to the collegiate Top 25 and a tournament run will be fueled with encouraging messages from a mom who turned into a coach.