Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

KU Basketball's Kelly Oubre Finding His Way

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

KU Basketball's Kelly Oubre Finding His Way

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- Not even five minutes into the first half against No. 19 Oklahoma, Kansas freshman guard Kelly Oubre is roaring to the crowd and flexing his biceps.

He had to roar. He had to flex. He had to do something because just forcing a ball out of bounds, like he did, wouldn't make highlight reels. Except this was about Oubre's hustle, not the turnover he created.

Oubre knocked the ball loose from OU's Isaiah Cousins and dove for it twice before forcing Cousins to throw it out of bounds after he beat him to the ball.

This was one possession in No. 11 Kansas' 85-78 victory over the Sooners on Monday at Allen Fieldhouse. This is one example of a player who is starting to find his way, and one reason his coach is finally letting him.

"When you play with energy and that kind of stuff, it camouflages all of your sins," KU coach Bill Self said. "Kelly is playing that way."

There were other examples of that energy on Monday -- Oubre finished with team-high 19 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals -- but none were more significant than his hustle to a loose ball, and not just because KU point guard Frank Mason knocked down a 3-pointer after Oubre's steal.

It mattered because of what Oubre did before the steal, committing a flagrant foul on Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield.

This was the type of play that would've gotten Oubre benched earlier in the year. A bad foul against a great team. But earlier in the year, Oubre was a different player, and Self was a different coach.

Back in October, before truly getting to see what his latest top recruit could do, Self was reminiscing about his last ones, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, and how they affected his team.

"I don't think we were as hard and as tough as what a Kansas team typically is," Self said then. "We didn't do enough as a staff of getting them that way."

Self also vowed to make that a point of emphasis this year. If nothing else, Kansas would be tough. That meant tougher coaching, and a bigger challenge for Oubre.

Heading into college, Oubre was ranked as the sixth overall recruit, according to Rivals. …

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