Oklahoma basketball: Je'lon Hornbeak learns to appreciate mother's advice

Oklahoma freshman guard Je'lon Hornbeak has always heard words of encouragement from his mother, but they got to be a little too much during the summer when his mother helped coach his AAU basketball team.
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: January 10, 2013
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Before a basketball game, Oklahoma guard Je'lon Hornbeak receives encouraging messages from his lifetime coach.

“Only you can hold you back,” she tells him.

“Be a leader, not a follower,” she reminds him.

Sheila Hornbeak has been telling her son these messages since he was a young boy.

For a summer in between Je'lon's freshman and sophomore year in high school, Sheila was able to stand in the team huddle and share them face-to-face. She was, after all, an assistant coach on his AAU squad. Now, with Je'lon at Oklahoma, she calls her son and reminds him before each start.

Those messages and her time spent as a coach has helped the bond between Sheila and Je'lon grow into a mature mother-son relationship, but the summer they were on the same team that bond was stretched.

“There was a lot of tension,” Sheila said. “I knew what he could do, but he wasn't showing it.”

Sheila tried to explain to Je'lon that even though she last played basketball in high school, she still understood the game and understood what he needed to do to improve. Je'lon thought she knew nothing.

He rolls his eyes still sometimes when that summer gets brought up.

“Man,” Je'lon said. “That was a rough summer.”

His mom told him what he did wrong and tried to help him get better while trying to embarrass him as little as possible.

“I always understood him,” Sheila said. “He had to understand me. ... But I used to be the hated one.”


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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