OU basketball: Sooners talk about Lon Kruger being named Big 12 Coach of the Year

Kruger coached OU to a second-place finish in the conference after it was picked in the preseason for a fifth-place tie.
by Ryan Aber Published: March 10, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger reacts to an official's call during an NCAA game between Oklahoma and West Virginia at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Garett Fisbeck)
Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger reacts to an official's call during an NCAA game between Oklahoma and West Virginia at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Garett Fisbeck)

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger was named Big 12 Basketball Coach of the Year on Monday by The Associated Press.

Kruger coached the Sooners to a second-place finish in the conference after being picked in the preseason for a fifth-place tie.

For Kruger, it’s his third conference Coach of the Year honor.

He was named Mountain West Coach of the Year in 2008 and the SEC Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1994.

Kruger is the only one in NCAA history to coach five teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Monday, a few of his players talked about what makes Kruger the coach that he is and what he means to them.

“Coach Kruger’s a great guy. He’s a great crafter. He’s always positive and he keeps me positive, even when I’m doing dumb stuff. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be at this level now. He teaches me what I need to do to get better. Every day he’s at it. He won’t stop working to get good schemes. Coach (Steve) Henson calls it magic plays. I just feel blessed to be around a coach like that who’s always working and trying to make this team better.”

— Buddy Hield, sophomore guard

“Any award he gets is very warranted, and if I were a voter, I would definitely choose him for what he’s done for this program over the past couple years. It’s not really just this year. Developing a winning program is not a one-year thing or an overnight thing. It’s been fun to be a part of that and it’s even more fun that we’re not done yet.

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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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