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OU men's basketball: De'Vion Harmon follows emotional week with upset of Kansas

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Kansas Oklahoma Basketball

Oklahoma guards De’Vion Harmon (11) and Elijah Harkless (24) react Saturday during the second half of a game against Kansas in Norman.

De’Vion Harmon took a long pause.

It’s been a difficult week for the 6-foot-2 guard, who scored 22 points to fuel the unranked Sooners’ upset of ninth-ranked Kansas on Saturday.

Harmon wasn’t too concerned with his statistics or OU’s 75-68 victory.

His mind was on Hazel Blunt, his great grandmother who died Jan. 15 and whose funeral he attended on Thursday. She was 90.

“It was tough,” said Harmon, who needed that long pause to collect himself during his postgame Zoom session with reporters. “... It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about playing against Kansas, it was about giving everything I have for my teammates, for my family and for all the people who genuinely want to see me succeed and I just left it all out there on the court.”

Harmon certainly gave that.

OU quickly trailed 5-0 in the first half before Harmon scored the team’s first eight points.

The sophomore, who came to OU from Denton, Texas, made KU pay from the perimeter, making 4 of 9 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc and finishing 7 of 14 from the floor.

His efforts, along with 16 second-half points from Austin Reaves and Umoja Gibson’s 10, steadied OU’s ship as it went back and forth with perennial Big 12 power Kansas before finally pulling away at the end.

“So happy for De’Vion,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “No one puts in more time, before practice, after practice, competes hard, plays hard every day in practice. Any time a guy is doing that, you want very much for him to have huge success. De’Vion is doing that right now.”

Harmon’s been on a tear over OU’s last three games, which all have been victories. He scored 22 points in a blowout win over TCU on Jan. 12, 16 in OU’s rout of Kansas State last Tuesday and back up to 22 on Saturday.

He was playing with a heavier heart over the last week with the woman, he’s grown closer to over the past few months, on his mind.

When Harmon moved back to Oklahoma after the summer, he stayed with his grandparents, his father, Deon, said. De’Vion Harmon’s great grandmother, who was born in Arcadia, was dealing with health issues, so De’Vion’s grandmother, Donna Harmon, went to see her mother multiple times a week.

Not having much to do outside of basketball, De’Vion Harmon would tag along.

The outings usually consisted of coffee and games of dominoes. Most importantly, they provided De’Vion Harmon a chance to form a tighter bond with his great grandmother.

“My grandmother is the one who, when I got a little older, she’s the one I sat down and drink coffee with her,” said Deon Harmon. “And she got a chance to start that same tradition with him. So, it was pretty special. And when we went to the funeral, I knew it was going to be pretty tough on him.”

De’Vion Harmon’s father is proud of the way his son has handled it.

The OU guard, who just turned 20 on Friday, has been a rock for his father when De’Vion’s mother, LeQuita Harmon, was going through her own health issues this past year. He then became a rock for his grandmother, Donna Harmon, as her mother, Blunt, battled hers.

“He had to deal with a lot of a lot of emotion and pain and uncertainty,” Deon Harmon said

It’s all been challenging on De’Vion Harmon, who’s evolved into one of OU’s best playmakers since arriving to campus in 2019.

But Saturday, he was playing for much more.

“I know Big Momma’s watching,” De’Vion Harmon said. “I know she was watching over me. I know she’s proud.”

Joe Buettner

405-366-3580

Follow me @JoeBuettner

jbuettner@normantranscript.com

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