HOUSTON, Texas – The Oklahoma Sooners are gearing up for the biggest stage in basketball- the Final Four.
The crimson and cream will take on Villanova for the second time in four months during Saturday’s showdown in Houston.
While OU will be facing a familiar team, a couple of players will also be feeling right at home.
“We’re going home man,” said OU sophomore forward Khadeem Lattin immediately after defeating Oregon in the Elite 8.
Lattin and Christian James, a freshman guard for OU, will be trying to win a national championship title in their hometown.
Before heading to Norman, Lattin played at Redemption Christian Home School Academy.
Now, Lattin hopes to put on a show for fans, friends and family members in front of a hometown crowd.
“It means a lot playing in the Final Four, and it means even more playing in Houston. It’s awesome. It’s my city, and my city loves me, and I love my city,” Lattin said.
James starred at Bellaire High School before joining the Sooners.
“Christian has really had a couple outstanding games here the last three weeks,” Lon Kruger, OU head basketball coach, said. “During the year I think he was ready to do that when he rolled his ankle, and that set him back for a couple three games. From a confidence stand point, it took a little time to get back, but he has a good feel for the game. Just a really young, good player that’s going to get better and better.”
At the Final Four at NRG Stadium, James’ number one fan will be his mother, Sharon.
“It’s like a dream come true for him. It’s one of the things he wanted to do was to play in his hometown in front of all of his family and friends,” Sharon said.
James imagined a possible fairy tale ending just down the road from home, but it still hasn’t quite set in.
“I never would have thought, man,” James said. “It’s crazy because from the jump we were always talking about road to Houston. In my head, you think, I’m a freshman, but it’s like we’re really here. It’s unreal. I’ll never get this moment back, so I’m just trying to soak it all in right now. When that ball goes in, it’s just all business. People were calling me saying we got to get this win. I’ll never get a chance like this again. Playing in my home city for a national championship. I’ll never get this moment back.”