NORMAN — Right after Oklahoma's loss to Kansas on Saturday, Sooner freshman Je'lon Hornbeak received a message from Isaiah Austin, Baylor's standout freshman center.
“Go get the next one,” it said.
Hornbeak's “next one” is Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Waco, Texas, against Austin and Baylor. It's the first game the friends have played against each other since before they were high school teammates at Dallas' Grace Academy.
“We always tell each other, ‘Hey, go get the W,'” Hornbeak said. “Even though the next one is against him ... we're not enemies. When we get on the court, we're not going to like each other. That's just the way we are. But off the court, we (are) still brothers.”
It's normal for the two to offer each other advice or encouragement.
Hornbeak's mother, Sheila, said her son is always calling coaches and players for advice on how to get better.
“I think Je'lons that type of guy,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “That's part of who he is.”
But the person Hornbeak talks to daily is Austin.
“Basketball wise if he watches a game and sees something, he'll tell me something and if I watch a game and I see something, I'll tell him something,” Hornbeak said. “It's brotherly. It's like me and Isaiah Cousins and Buddy (Hield) — how we are is the same way with him. We can get on each other and it really doesn't matter.”
Austin and Hornbeak have been friends since they were in the sixth grade, when Austin moved to Texas from Minnesota. They played on the same AAU team and played one on one — a 6-foot-3 guard vs. a 7-1 center.
“There were days he destroyed me,” Hornbeak said, “and games I beat him. You really got to work on your shot and create space (to shoot over him). Sometimes he takes me to the post and I just have to foul him.”
Hornbeak said the all-time series between the two is “probably even, but it's probably in his favor. I'll give it to him.”
The two talked about going to the same college, but they always said that they would do what was best for each other. Once Austin told Hornbeak he was going to Baylor, Hornbeak almost joined him, but concluded Baylor wasn't for him. The two keep in contact every day through a group text message with two other high school friends.
“(Isaiah) just sends me some crazy picture he finds on the Internet,” Hornbeak said. “We all just laugh about it.”
Wednesday night will just add one more game to the list in which Hornbeak and Austin will try to outdo each other, but no matter the outcome — they'll tell their brother to “get the next one.”
“We always told each other no matter where we go we'll still be brothers and family,” Hornbeak said. “Because it doesn't matter the distance — family is always family.”
Oklahoma at Baylor
*When: 6 p.m. Wednesday
*Where: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas
*TV: ESPNU (Cox 253/HD 718; Dish 141; DirecTV 208; U-Verse 605/HD 1605)
*Radio: KOKC-AM 1520
Three things to know
*Oklahoma leads the all-time series 37-10, but Baylor has won five of the last seven.
*Baylor freshman Isaiah Austin has recorded seven double-doubles this season. That ranks second in the Big 12.
*Baylor senior Pierre Jackson leads the league at 18.7 points per game. He has scored in double figures in 26 consecutive games dating to last season.