Musselman & Kruger’s Friendship Prompts Arkansas-OU Series

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Arkansas and Oklahoma are officially set to play in a multi-year basketball series at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The first game of the series will take place on December 12, 2020.

Arkansas and OU have only faced of 28 times since 1938-39. However, Arkansas head coach, Eric Musselman, and OU head coach, Lon Kruger, are very familiar with eachother. Kruger served as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks from 2000-04, and Musselman spent two seasons as an assistant under him. Kruger says Musselman came highly recommended.

“He had that coaching blood in his background,” says Kruger. “He’s really on top of things, very organized. It was a pretty easy decision.”

Prior to being hired by the Hawks, Musselman was in Orlando on Doc Rivers’ staff.

“I had known the GM Pete Babcock, who had been with the San Diego Clippers,” says Musselman. “And Pete’s brother had coached me at San Diego. So there was a connection with their GM. I think Pete Babcock had maybe given my name to Lon, and then Lon had a pool of people he was going to call and talk to and I happened to be one of them. It was a great move for me. I was behind the bench in Orlando and that got me on the bench. So it was a great time with him and that obviously led to the Golden State head job, and his recommendation with Golden State carried a ton of weight.”

Both coaches admit their history together did play a role in scheduling this series. However, Musselman was slightly hesitant at first.

“That’s kind of why I just wanted Hunter to get involved,” says Musselman. “I wasn’t at first, just because we’re friends, I didn’t really know how to feel about it. The more we looked over their NET rankings over the last 10 years, and knowing the types of teams he has. They’re hard to beat because they’re well coached and they have talent. So, but it’s a great game for us. You look last year’s strength of schedule, I think it was 12th in the country, our non-conference schedule. So certainly this is a huge game for us and for Oklahoma as well.”

For more information on the series, click HERE.

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