Oklahoma basketball had a 20-win season. They made it to an NCAA Tournament.
All of it is, in large part, thanks to Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger who is known as a rebuilder. However, there were some surprises and underachievers to the 2012-2013 season.
Here we go:
Romero Osby’s consistency and just about everything else. Be honest. At some point, just like me, you thought, ‘OK, Osby is just not going to pull through in the second half for them.’ And then he always pulled through, even if he had some scoring droughts in the second half late in the season. However, Romero Osby’s consistency is the reason they are where they are. His work ethic, his diligence to stay over an hour after practice as the media interviewed him and then often just sat talking with him. He was generous to his team and the fans. He’s a low-maintenance all-for-the-team guy in an all-about-me, over-dramatic world. He’s the diamond in the rough.
Buddy Hield’s energy. Be honest again. You wondered at some point how he keeps going. How does Buddy Hield keep talking and squaking and running circles around his opponent? Doesn’t he ever get tired? No. Not really. The only time I truly saw him tired was after he played 1-on-7 basketball with all those 12 year olds and he was so determined to win that he ran and chased everything down (and yeah, even airballed a three). Hield’s energy changed the tone of the season. Osby’s business attitude pushed it forward. Hield’s energetic attitude kept it fueled.
Lon Kruger’s coaching. Don’t confuse this for anything other than this: Lon Kruger’s coaching shocked a lot of analysts, media and basketball fans around the nation this season when they started seeing the Sooners winning so much. People expected it to take a little bit longer for Kruger to take what he had and turn it into victories.
An NCAA Tournament berth. A lot of fans early this season were telling me how happy they would be just to see Oklahoma make the NIT Tournament. Honestly, I think the Sooners shocked themselves a little bit with the 20-win season and the berth. I know they said way back in October that’s what their goal was, but every team’s goal is to be the Cinderella and shock the tournament (unless you’re someone like Kansas). Toward the end of the season, when they kept losing, even the Sooners seemed contempt with an NIT berth. I say so, because they said so. Multiple times by multiple players after that Iowa State loss at the Big 12 Championships.
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