When the mid-majors came around to offer then-unknown Kameron McGusty, who was just a 6-foot-5 wing loaded with potential, it was just a bunch of schools who knew McGusty was already good enough.
In the past few months, when the big schools like Florida and Louisville came calling, they were interested much more in the finished product – what McGusty, the 29th-ranked recruit in the country, could be if he was in their rotation.
Only one school saw the long progression, McGusty said.
“Oklahoma, they saw the whole process. It really did help my game,” McGusty said. “ . . . Oklahoma started recruiting me with, ‘If you do this, this, this and this, you can be here.’”
More specifically than Oklahoma, it was Sooners assistant coach Lew Hill who first gave McGusty life-changing advice. A little more than a year ago, Hill told McGusty what he needed to do – commit to giving more effort on the court.
That stuck with McGusty, who became the face of Oklahoma’s 2016 class when he committed to the Sooners in mid-July after making three visits to Oklahoma during his high school career.
There’s a bigger weight on McGusty than most recruits. He’s the highest rated player to commit to Oklahoma since 2009 and one of only six top-30 players that Oklahoma has received a commitment from since 2002.
“I’m ready for it,” McGusty said. “I know expectations are going to be high. It’s not something I’m worried about. I think I can handle it. . . .I feel the pressure but it’s nothing I can’t handle.”
McGusty said that the Oklahoma coaching staff has approached him about what players he likes – mentioning before the commitment of Matt Freeman that the Sooners were still looking for a big man and a shooter.
With plans of “definitely” signing during the early period in November, McGusty will cement himself as the top commit in the Lon Kruger era and the best since 2009.
McGusty is close friends with 2016 point guard J.J. Caldwell, who is the No. 11 point guard in the country. The two had expressed plans of playing together, and Caldwell said that Oklahoma has contact him recently – after the de-commitment of Payton Pritchard.
In one of his first acts as face of the class, McGusty was emphatic that he wouldn’t try to convince Caldwell to join him – showing the honest demeanor of a leader.
“We would love to but things don’t work out,” McGusty said. “He has his future. I have mine. Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do and take your own path. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out.
“I wouldn’t want to force him to do anything he would want to do. Of course, he doesn’t want to force me to do anything I wouldn’t want to do.”
Oklahoma started its recruitment of McGusty during his sophomore year at Seven Lakes High School (Texas). The Sooners were his first major conference offer, coming in early April after a recent visit to Oklahoma for the regular-season finale.
That long recruiting journey ended with McGusty as the face of Oklahoma’s 2016 recruiting class. Without that early plan set forth by Hill, McGusty might not be where he is now – headed to Norman or any major conference program.
“They saw all the potential that just needed to be put together,” McGusty said. “Great things could happen. They saw that vision in me as a sophomore. I came in junior year and put my game together and got all those things right. Look at me now.”