At the end of the season last year, Coach Moser got the team together for a team meeting and handed out note cards to everyone.
On the note cards, he wrote down what he’d like to see each of us improve on in the offseason.
He also called on a few guys to read their notes aloud to the entire team.
I was one of those guys.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous.
But once I opened the card to read the note, man, my heart started pounding.
I’ll never forget what it said.
I had earned a full scholarship.
My teammates went crazy and started jumping all over me as if I’d made a game-winning shot.
Going from a preferred walk-on to a scholarship player is an incredible feeling. Growing up just outside of Norman and being a die-hard Sooner fan my entire life made this moment all the more special.
No doubt, it was one of the best days of my life.
I grew up watching and attending Sooners games all the time when I was a kid.
There was nothing like spending a Saturday in Norman during the fall. We’ve had so many nationally-ranked teams and incredible players through the years like DeMarco Murray, Baker Mayfield, Mark Andrews, Kyler Murray — the list goes on and on.
There have been some studs to come out of OU in basketball, too — Blake Griffin, Buddy Hield, Trae Young, etc., and I just loved watching all of them play growing up.
I kind of always dreamed of being in those guys’ shoes and playing for my hometown Sooners, but my journey took me on a different path initially.
I committed to Wofford out of high school and played two seasons there, but it took its toll on me.
I have nothing but great things to say about the basketball program and university, but man, being 15 hours away from home was not easy.
When I entered the transfer portal, playing at OU was the first thing on my mind – I just wasn’t sure if it’d be a possibility.
Once I got in contact with Coach Moser and he offered me a spot on the team, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. It was a no-brainer decision.
I was coming home.
Memories and growth
Last year was my first season playing for OU, and I can’t tell you how surreal it was putting on that jersey every game.
Playing in front of my friends and family is just as amazing as I imagined it’d be. They motivate me every game to continue to get better and play at an elite level.
I’d also be remiss not to mention someone who’s been one of the most influential people in my life, Daniel Harper.
He was on the 2015-2016 OU team that made it to the Final Four, and I look up to him in so many different ways.
He was actually one of my high school coaches, so I’ve known him for a long time and have established a great relationship with him.
When I made the decision to transfer to OU, he was one of the first people I told. He trained me and taught me so much about the game, so coming to OU almost felt like a tribute to him.
He helped get me to where I am today, and I couldn’t be happier to be back in Oklahoma so I can continue to learn from him and further develop my game.
We didn’t win as many games as we wanted to last year, but it was still an incredible experience.
Not many people get to say they have the opportunity to travel around the country and world doing what they love, so it’s not something I ever take for granted.
Another memory I’ll never forget is when we beat Alabama in Norman.
They were ranked number two in the country at the time, so that was a crazy atmosphere when the final buzzer sounded and the student section rushed the floor.
It wasn’t the season we’d hoped it would be, but that game showcased the potential we have when we play at our best.
Games like that are what we’re building off of as we approach this upcoming season and the culture Coach Moser is establishing.
I know OU is traditionally looked at as a football school, but believe me when I tell you that this university cares deeply about its basketball program.
This is more than evident with the facilities, tournaments, and enthusiasm and support we’re so fortunate to have around campus.
Not to mention, OU shows that they care not only about winning, but winning the right way when they bring in a coach like Coach Moser.
We all saw the winning program and culture he built at Loyola Chicago when he took them to the Final Four, and he’s trying to do the same thing in Norman.
Every practice is difficult and competitive, but it’s also a whole lot of fun. We compete at a high level and are looking to improve every single day, so I love being a part of his program and what he’s building.
I’m considered one of the energy setters on the team, and I take great pride in that, but I’m also looking forward to developing more of a leadership role this season.
I’m one of five players who are returning from last year, so it’s my responsibility to help set an example to some of the young guys and new players about what we’re trying to accomplish this season.
I have two years of eligibility left, and I plan to use those two years to continue to develop and improve in all facets of the game.
I’m also beyond excited to be part of establishing a culture for a basketball program and university that I’ve admired my entire life.
I’d say playing basketball at OU has been a dream come true, but it’s more than that.