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January 16, 2013

Freshman Je’lon Hornbeak learning what it means to be a true point guard



That will be on display when the Sooners (11-3, 2-0 Big 12) face Texas Tech (8-6, 1-2) at 7 tonight at Lloyd Noble Center.

Statistically, Hornbeak hasn’t dazzled through the first 14 games. He’s averaging just 6.2 points and 1.9 assists. Senior point guard Sam Grooms has kept the weight of the world from falling on the freshman’s shoulders thus far.

Grooms still averages 17.6 minutes and remains the assists leader with 32. But he’s taken Hornbeak under his wing. There’s a lesson every point guard has to learn.

“You have to stay even keel. You can’t get too low or too high,” Grooms said.”

Hornbeak is getting the message.

The four-star recruit, who joined Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins in the heralded class of guards in the 2012 recruiting class, has a different role. The play of point guards is graded on a different curve. Scoring, rebounding and assists don’t really matter. Coaches recruit point guards all the time with physical skills drawing them in. That last piece of the puzzle requires a leap of faith.

“Point guard is a unique position because it is about others, it’s not about you,” Kruger said. “After a ball game if the team wins, a point guard should feel great. If the team loses, the point guard should feel bad — regardless of how they do individually or statistically. You try to consider all that because it takes a unique set of traits.”

Hornbeak is developing them. He’ll start his 14th career game tonight. The Sooners have won 11 of them.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn


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