Oklahoma basketball: Lon Kruger talks COVID, season impact

oklahoma basketball

Last week Oklahoma basketball along with the rest of the Sooner athletic department announced a halt in all athletic activities after 35 staff members and players tested positive for COVID-19. This meant OU basketball was going to have to push its season opener off till Thursday when it will finally take on UTSA.

In a press conference last week with OU men’s basketball head coach Lon Kruger, he shared how he feels about this season and all of the ways that it will look different. Following the postponement of the season opener, Kruger still seemed optimistic about the season with things like postponements and cancellations as something that just comes with a season as unique as this one.

“It’ll be different for sure,” Kruger said. “We just hope to get to a game. There are so many games being postponed or canceled around the country and yet I really believe this is the way it’s gonna be every week of the next three or four months. I really think we’re going to go into every possibility with the potential of being postponed with rosters looking different.”

Having the advantage of watching football season and the implications that came with it seems to have helped Kruger and his team mentally prepare for its own season. When it comes to prepping his team, Kruger’s approach is one that most coaches across the country appear to be doing right now as well.

“We just have to maintain the right attitude and adjust to whatever and do whatever we need to do to get games in,” says Kruger.

There is no surprise this is the mindset Kruger is taking due to the fact that this situation, as we have seen through college football, is not one that the team or the coaches have much control over. Going in with a positive attitude at this point is all the Sooners can really do.

Something that some fans may not be considered in the way they did at the beginning of this fall, is that collegiate basketball players will also be given the chance to opt out of this season due to COVID-19. Kruger explained this was something he took very seriously going into this season.

“We talked a lot about that early and just making sure that they were aware that if anyone’s uncomfortable for your safety with the COVID going forward, uncomfortable with the travel then you have the option to opt out without you know that having any bearing on the future opportunity and all of that,” Kruger said.

However, do not worry about Sooner fans with the conversation of opting out also comes good news for the Sooners.

“Our guys, you know, with individual conversations, team conversations, no one even thought about it. They were all interested in playing. They all felt safe,” said Kruger.

Following the exciting news that unless a player or staff member does test positive for the virus, they will have a full roster, Kruger also commended the OU athletic department as a whole for how it has been handling the virus and the safety of staff members and student-athletes.

“I think OU has done a fantastic job with the testing, with following the medical advice,” said Kruger. “Doing the things that they need to do to keep our student-athletes as safe as possible, and to this point, we’ve had good results.”