Morgan Hook was a high school basketball star in Rogers, Ark., and has enjoyed a successful career as Oklahoma's starting point guard.
There are very few basketball-related challenges the senior and team captain hasn't experienced on some level, but leading a team that doesn't always play hard is one of them.
“I've never really understood not playing hard every possession,” Hook said. “You don't really know that you're not doing it until you see one or two of your teammates doing it, and all of a sudden everyone's doing it. That it's become acceptable just really attacks you as a senior leader on the team. It's not acceptable.”
The Sooners (10-5, 1-1 Big 12) play Wednesday morning at Texas, where they'll try to get back on the winning path. Hook spoke with The Oklahoman about playing hard, getting over the hump in close games and learning to lead without Whitney Hand.
Q: You guys have lost a couple games in overtime this season. What has to change for the team to win those games?
A: Honestly, we just have to figure out how to play hard every single possession. Right now, we're not as consistent. We'll have brilliance in four possessions, maybe, and then take two or three off. In the Big 12, you can't take possessions off.
Are those kinds of challenges new to you?
I would say so, yeah. … I think right now we're at a crossroads where it's just something you decide to do. You can't decide to make 100 percent of your shots because that's probably not going to happen. You can't control that, but you can control how hard you play.
Has this experience made you a better leader?
Yes, definitely. I think it's challenged me, where I haven't known the answers. There are times when I just look at coach (Sherri Coale), and just tell her, “I don't know what else you want me to do.” As a leader growing in leadership, there are times when you're not gonna have the answers.
I know you are close with Whitney Hand. Did her absence leave a leadership void with this team?
Oh, for sure. Even last year when she was on the team and I was a captain, it was still like, “Well, we have Whitney. It's not like I have to completely lead the team because we still have Whitney Hand.”
This year, it really kinda hit me that Whitney's not here anymore, and it has to come from me. It's definitely been a challenge filling that role because she was such a great leader for this team.