Italy. Spain. South Korea. China. Philippines. Russia. Ukraine. Israel. Puerto Rico.
Oklahoma held its annual Alumni Weekend for the men’s basketball program, and now McGhee can add another location to his list of travels since graduation. Before this weekend, McGhee hadn’t been back to Norman in more than a decade. Today, he’ll suit up with a handful of other former players for an informal game at noon inside Lloyd Noble Center.
“I didn’t think it would take that long,” said McGhee, who wanted to come back last year but had to go to Russia to play. “I guess it took something like this for me to come back. I’m shocked. I’m amazed. It’s awesome.”
Oklahoma welcomed back all 40 of its 1,000-point scorers. Although not all, including Blake Griffin, made the trip. The Sooners honored nearly four dozen former players, who played or coached from the 1940s to today, on Friday night at a banquet dinner.
“It’s great to see guys that have been here come back,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “It shows you how much they enjoyed their experience and enjoyed their time on campus as Sooners. They’re sharing those stories and having a great time.”
McGhee met a former Sooner who played on the 1947 team.
“It kind of blew me away. It kind of put stuff in perspective,” McGhee said. “After all this time, they were able to get everyone together. … It’s awesome to meet all these people.”
Perspective is something McGhee, who has a son about to started middle school, has really gained during the past decade. While he hasn’t tried everything about all the new cultures in which he has been immersed, McGhee has gotten over his early shock about the differences around the world.
He visited the Great Wall of China while he was playing there and has recognized the importance his travels have had on him.
“Just seeing different cultures and how other people interact in different situations,” said McGhee, who scored 1,001 points in just two years with Oklahoma while helping guide the team to the Final Four in 2002. “People in America, a lot of times, don’t get a chance to see everything around the whole world. We just get stuck in our own bubble. When you travel more, it opens you up as a person. It broadens you out as a person. I’ve been fortunate enough to see and do things that most people won’t.”
Other former players have taken their talents overseas ,as well.
Former Sooner Tony Crocker, who finished with 1,351 points during his career at Oklahoma, has spent the past four years playing across the Atlantic Ocean in Hungary, Ukraine, Finland and Greece.
On Monday, he leaves for Israel. This weekend though, he returned home.
“It’s good to have everybody come back and actually be interested in their university and their school and be proud of what they’re doing,” said Crocker, who hasn’t watched college basketball in the past two years because of the time difference.