Things felt pretty good for Oklahoma basketball and Katy (Texas) Tompkins shooting guard prospect Jamal Bieniemy heading into his trip to OU two weeks ago.
Not sure either side expected a commitment to come out of the visit, but when things are going good, there’s no point in waiting.
Bieniemy, listed at 6-foot-5 and 175 pounds, became OU’s initial pledge for the 2018 class when he committed two weeks ago at dinner with the OU coaching staff.
“Going into that weekend, OU was on the top of my list,” Bieniemy said. “And when I got on campus and they showed me how things work I felt it would be the best place for me to grow on and off the court.”
Bieniemy said he had no intention to commit on the visit, but the system set up at OU blew him away and let him know he was making the right choice.
It wasn’t as if Bieniemy didn’t have a long list of suitors, especially coming off great performances in the last month during the live evaluation period.
When he arrived, he said he started to realize things were good and even told assistant coach Carlin Hartman that during a tour of Lloyd Noble Center. As the hours went on, the feeling never went away.
“I first told Coach Hartman when we were walking through the Lloyd Noble center that I wanted to be a Sooner,” Bieniemy said. “Then at dinner with the coaching staff I told Coach Kruger to make it official.”
Bieniemy is exactly what OU needs moving forward in terms of being a scorer. Bieniemy is more than that, too, but his 21 points per game as a junior seem like a good indicator that he’ll be able to find the bucket at OU.
Bieniemy also averaged eight assists and six rebounds.
The bond with Kruger and Hartman played a huge role for Bieniemy. Even though the Sooners hadn’t been recruiting Bieniemy for an extended period of time, it was enough.
“Me and Coach Kruger talk a lot throughout the week,” Bieniemy said. “The same with Coach Hartman. Coach Hartman came to my school to watch me workout and then we started building a relationship. Then last month coach Kruger came to Houston and he offered me.”
Getting Bieniemy isn’t just getting a quality scorer, it’s also about OU continuing to develop meaningful bonds with players from the Houston area.
It has been a major priority for the Sooners, and it has been working. OU fans are hoping Bieniemy won’t be the lone Houston-area product as all eyes are on The Woodlands (Texas) College Park five-star guard Quentin Grimes.
As OU continues its pursuit of Grimes, it can rest easy knowing it has locked up Bieniemy, whose goal is only to improve moving forward.
“Going into my senior year I've been working on getting my three ball more consistent,” Bieniemy said.
For someone who can already do many things well, the addition of a consistent perimeter shot would be icing on the cake for the Sooners.