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OU's Sunday Practice Energy Gets Kid Boost
January 21, 2013
Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

There are times when the Big 12 Conference schedule is particularly challenging. It's not just the dates and the games, sometimes the results of those games plus the date of the next game makes players and coaches heave a sigh.

Oklahoma faces one of those daunting dates. After a disappointing road loss at Kansas State Saturday, the Sooners had one day to prepare for a Big Monday visit from Texas (8:30 p.m., ESPN). However, some special practice visitors Sunday helped buoy the enthusiasm.

The OU athletic department invited about 200 children to watch practice. They're cheering of dunks and long shots helped spark the practice energy.

"When we were watching film, nobody was smiling," freshman Je'lon Hornbeak told the Oklahoman of the mood during the film session. "No matter if we're sad or mad, for the kids we always try to put a smile on. I'm really not in the mood to smile or anything, but I know it means a lot to these kids so if it means a lot to them, it means a lot to me.

"It was a surprise to us. It kind of helps us take our mind of the game a little bit. We've been a little up and down, especially coming off this loss. It just brightens the mood of everybody."

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