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OU basketball: Lon Kruger not interested in Kansas State job

Sooner assistant Steven Henson, who played for the Wildcats, would be interested in returning to Manhattan.
By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer, Modified: March 27, 2012 at 11:08 pm •  Published: March 27, 2012

— The highlight of Oklahoma's inaugural season under Lon Kruger was the Sooners' sweep of the season series against Kansas State, his alma mater.

Could those two wins play a small role in Kansas State possibly hiring OU assistant Steve Henson?

Kansas State has a vacancy after Frank Martin was introduced as South Carolina's coach on Tuesday.

K-State fans will want athletic director John Currie to pursue Kruger, who is six wins shy of 500 career Division I victories. Kruger, though, said Tuesday he is committed to OU after signing a $16.6 million deal a year ago.

“Obviously I love Kansas State and loved the time we were there,” Kruger said. “But we're 100 percent Oklahoma and excited about that. There are no ifs ands or buts about it. We're trying to build something here.”

What about Henson, who also played for the Wildcats?

Would K-State athletic director John Currie hire someone who has never been a head coach?

Henson, 43, coached under Kruger for six years at UNLV and spent one year each on Kruger's staff at Illinois, Oklahoma and the Atlanta Hawks.

“Steve is absolutely ready. There's not any question about that,” Kruger said. “He's been close on a couple of other good situations, but it's hard to get that first head coaching job.

“He's great with the players. He has a very good feel for the X's and O's part of it. He's very good with the alumni and boosters. He's very ready in every way. And he has a tremendous passion for the Wildcats.”

Henson's strongest selling point is that over the past decade he's been an assistant under one of the most respected coaches in the country.

“K-State is a dream job for me,” Henson said. “It's home. It's my alma mater. There are so many ties and connections. It's a great place, a great town, a great university. I'd love a shot at it for so many reasons.”

Because K-State returned to prominence under Martin, Currie might opt for a big-name coach with more experience. Henson said he hasn't been contacted by K-State officials, but his ties to the program and tenure under Kruger could land him an interview.

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