Basketball & Anthony Kim

MsProudSooner

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Anyone remember this story from last fall?

Mon September 22, 2008

Courting the competition: Bookout recalls Kim's talent for golf and pickup basketball
By John Rohde The Oklahoman


When Ryder Cup champion Anthony Kim was a student at Oklahoma, he used to take on all comers.

Not in golf, but in basketball.

Kim would control the outdoor court at the Campus Lodge Apartments in Norman, waiting for whoever had next.

He'd talk smack, and then would back it up with some help from his two influential teammates.

It was 3-on-3 hoops, and Kim was savvy enough to recruit two OU basketball players as his partners — walk-on guard Kellen Sampson and power forward Kevin Bookout.

Generously listed at 5-foot-10 in the PGA Tour media guide, Kim's first love in sports was basketball.

He wanted to someday play point guard for his beloved Lakers, but dishing off assists to Bookout and Sampson was as close as Kim ever got to big-time ball.

"We beat everybody,” Bookout recalled of conquering frat boys and residents who lived at the complex. "A.K. wasn't bad. He was a pretty good player. He used to play with us during our off-season. When he was in-season, he would come play basketball with us. I don't think his golf coach (Jim Ragan) was too pleased about that.”

Had Kim stuck with basketball, perhaps a roster spot awaited him at a small college.

"Knowing Anthony, though, he was probably thinking Division I,” Bookout said with a chuckle. "I don't think there were any ‘small college' thoughts in his mind. He wasn't going to play basketball anywhere but the best.”

With Tiger Woods on the mend, Kim might have to settle for being the best golfer on the planet.

Kim helped the U.S. team snatch the Ryder Cup back from the heavily favored Europeans with a convincing 16½-11½ victory at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

Kim went 2-1-1 on his matches and was 1-1-1 while paired with Phil Mickelson.

The 23-year-old Kim pumped some much-needed exuberance into the 38-year-old Mickelson, who has often underachieved at the Ryder Cup.

"A funny, funny dude,” Mickelson said of Kim. "He is a hoot to be around. I've laughed the whole week at everything that comes out of that guy's mouth. I think that's why we were so loose and had so much fun and I can't wait to see what he does in his career. He's going to have an incredible career.”

Kim and Bookout shared plenty of laughs together at OU.

Kim would invite the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Bookout to hit range balls from the Charlie Coe Training Center at the far end of the driving range at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course.

"I played in flip-flops back then,” Bookout said. "I've actually got shoes now. We'd play a couple of holes here and there, whenever we had the chance. He'd always make fun of me.”

Bookout would return the favor during basketball.

"If I was going to take it (Kim's verbal abuse) on the course, I was going to dish it out on the court,” Bookout said.

While Kim taught Bookout how to swing a club, Bookout taught Kim it was usually a good idea to get the ball to the 6-8 guy near the basket.

"When I had my slice, he would just tell me to put my left foot a little forward and try to pull the shot,” Bookout said. "Boom, right down the middle. He knew so many little gimmicks to make you hit the ball straight, it was unbelievable.”

Like millions of Americans, Bookout couldn't take his eyes off the Ryder Cup.

"He's a joy to watch,” Bookout said Sunday afternoon, five minutes after Kim had routed Sergio Garcia 5 and 4 in the first singles match. "He's made this Ryder Cup fun to watch for me and for everyone else. His enthusiasm and how much fun he's having, it's just great watching him play.”

Bookout hasn't spoken to Kim in months, but plans to send a text in a couple of weeks when Kim's schedule is a little less crazy.

"I knew he was good,” Bookout said of Kim, "but I had no idea he was going to be this good.”
 
Thanks for posting, MsProud! Guess I missed the article, but I do remember someone saying basketball was Kim's first love.

AK is one of only a handful of golfers I've seen who is capable of competing with Tiger. He's just a little too reckless right now. But if he develops the mental game to go with his swing and creativity, he could easily be ranked in the top three on the PGA tour. The kid is that good. Better still, he's a Sooner!
 
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