Oklahoma men's basketball: Frosh trio looking to just improve and keep on winning

Je'lon Hornbeak, Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins are three young basketball players looking for more competition to destroy. Next up is Arkansas in Fayetteville.
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: December 3, 2012
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photo - Oklahoma's Isaiah Cousins (right) defends Oral Roberts' D.J. Jackson (left)  during a basketball game at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. on Wednesday, November 28, 2012. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World ORG XMIT: DTI1211282122354931
Oklahoma's Isaiah Cousins (right) defends Oral Roberts' D.J. Jackson (left) during a basketball game at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. on Wednesday, November 28, 2012. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World ORG XMIT: DTI1211282122354931

NORMAN — Three Oklahoma freshmen who stole starting spots and the basketball spotlight go by “Three The Har' Way.”

Not the Three Amigos. Not the Three Musketeers.

“That's not original,” one said.

“That's not tough enough,” another said.

The third just kind of smiled.

Three The Hard Way. It's based off an old movie about three tough guys destroying their enemies.

That's where Je'lon Hornbeak, Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins are at in the world of college basketball — three freshmen just looking for more competition to destroy. And next up is Arkansas in Fayetteville. They already nicknamed themselves individually after kitchen appliances that “heat things up,” but now they are Oklahoma basketball's version of the football team's Cali Trio.

“We like to listen to Reggae together,” Hornbeak said. “It started back in July, when after a week of avoiding us, Isaiah finally started talking to Buddy and me.”

They made a sort-of pact then that they would play hard and do what it took to get the starting spots — spots that could have been owned by five returning starters. Now, the only two players who started games both last year and this are Steven Pledger and Romero Osby.

Two of the freshman, Cousins and Hornbeak, along with transfer Amath M'Baye kicked seniors Andrew Fitzgerald, Cameron Clark and Sam Grooms from the opening rotation — and even though Hield has yet to get a start, he is the hottest member for the Sooners off the bench.

Last week, after Oklahoma walked away from a last-minute victory against Oral Roberts in Tulsa, the team said collectively that last year, they would have lost the same game by 10. A lot of that credit goes to second-year coach Lon Kruger, who is known for rebuilding programs. Some of it goes to the freshmen. Hield provided a lift late in the second half, along with senior Steven Pledger, that helped Oklahoma in the comeback.


by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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