OU men's basketball: De'Vion Harmon returns to home where his confidence blossomed

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

OU's De'Vion Harmon celebrates a basket during the Sooners' game against MESU, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, at Lloyd Noble Center.

NORMAN — Little of what De’Vion Harmon says — or how he says it — reflects his youth.

The 18-year-old spoke with the self-assurance of a four-year veteran from his first media session a month after moving to Norman for his freshman year.

It's merely how the Denton, Texas, product is wired.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself,” Harmon said on June 27. “… There’s nothing cocky about it. If you’re up in here for hours and hours every day, you’re going to build a lot of confidence in what you do. That’s for anything. Basketball, doctor, lawyer, reporter. Whatever the case may be, if you put in the work, the results will come.”

Much is expected of Harmon, who signed with OU’s men’s basketball program as one of Rivals.com’s top-50 prospects of 2019.

So far, Harmon is averaging eight points and nearly four rebounds a game as OU’s starting point guard, and he’s helped the Sooners win six of their first seven outings entering Thursday's game at North Texas.

OU’s spent more than half its season on the road with visits already to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Portland, Oregon, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Harmon’s yet to get lost in the bright lights of traveling to new arenas; it comes with being a basketball player, he says.

OU’s trip to Denton’s UNT Coliseum, also known as The Super Pit, on Thursday, though, has more emotional ties.

“I know a lot about The Super Pit,” Harmon said. “I'm going to be excited to go back. You get to reminisce; I'm 18 now and I started playing there when I was four, five years old. Going to the camps and everything like that. ... I'm just going to be excited to get home.”

Harmon expects a large contingent of family and friends on hand to support his first college game in his hometown.

De’Vion’s father, Deon Harmon, will be there, as he has each of OU’s home games.

Asked if his son’s confidence is a recent development, Deon immediately recalled a moment from De’Vion's childhood.

The OU guard was just six years old at the time but was playing with an eight-and-under recreational league basketball team.

Deon remembers a friend from work wanting to go with him to see De’Vion play and he did not disappoint.

“He had an amazing game for that age,” Deon recalls. “They come from behind. He made some really good plays and made a bunch of buckets.”

His friend from work jokingly did a postgame interview with the six-year-old De’Vion and asked, “De’Vion, why did you decide to turn it on?”

“Well, I just felt my team needed me to pick my game up,” Deon recalls De’Vion saying in a serious tone. “And I decided to go be more aggressive.”

De’Vion’s answer somewhat stunned Deon.

“All of De’Vion’s responses were taken like he had been practicing interviewing and watching guys on TV,” Deon Harmon said.

“… We knew he had something, we just weren’t quite sure how far it would take him. We knew he was passionate about the game. He’s been passionate probably since three-year-olds, that's when we noticed he was really into basketball.”

It was fitting for the Denton kid, who still treats his interview with the same thoughtfulness.

“I've learned I'm gonna make mistakes,” said De’Vion Harmon a week after losing his first college game to Stanford. “I might not play well sometimes but I'm learning and I think the best thing I can do is learn. Once you stop learning, you stop growing. The more I can learn, the more knowledge I can get, the better off I'll be.”

He’ll put those early-season experiences to use against the Mean Green of Conference USA.

Harmon says he won’t be shocked if playing in front of more of his loved ones makes Thursday’s game extra fun for himself.

The player, mature beyond his years, though, is simply looking forward to his next chance to play.

“Being able to come back [home] in college, not a lot of people get that opportunity, so I'm going to try to embrace it the best I can,” Harmon said.

“I'm just excited to play. It's still a game at the end of the day, and I'm trying to come back to Norman with a W.”

Joe Buettner

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Follow me @ByJoeBuettner

jbuettner@normantranscript.com

Oklahoma at North Texas

Time/Place: 7 p.m. | The Super Pit, Denton, Texas

Records/Rankings: OU (6-1, 0-0 Big 12); North Texas (3-5, 0-0 C-USA)

OU starters: 24 Jamal Bieniemy (6-5, So./5.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg); G 11 De’Vion Harmon (6-1, Fr./8.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg); G 12 Austin Reaves (6-5, Jr./17.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg); F 0 Kristian Doolittle (6-7, Sr./14.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg); F 35 Brady Manek (6-9, So./13.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg)

North Texas starters: G 1 Umoja Gibson (6-1, So./14.3 ppg, 2.6 apg); G 3 Javion Hamlet (6-3, Jr./9.4 ppg, 2.9 apg); G 0 James Reese (6-4, Jr./5.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg); F 23 Deng Geu (6-8, Sr./9.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg); F 24 Zachary Simmons (6-10, Jr./7.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg)

Series: OU leads 6-1

Online: Facebook.com/LiveCUSA

Radio: KRXO 107.7 FM

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