Laurie Bieniemy’s eyes weren’t on the game. Jamal’s mom was distracted by Kruger, and specifically, how his demeanor contrasted that of then-Cowboys coach Brad Underwood.
“Brad had a scowl on his face,” Troy Bieniemy said. “He’s intense. Not that coach Kruger isn’t intense, but he just has a way of communicating with players. (Laurie) was like, ‘Look at how calm he is. I would be pulling my hair out.’”
Kruger later visited Jamal, and that was the end of his recruitment. His dad urged him to still visit schools such as UCLA, Cal and Michigan, but Jamal’s decision was set.
On a trip to Norman, less than three months after he visited Stillwater, Jamal stood at midcourt of Lloyd Noble Center.
“That’s it,” he said. “I know where I’m going.”