“You can’t choose what attributes and skillsets you’re born with, but you can always work hard, and if you’re willing to do that good things will happen. I think uncommon effort is being willing to put it all on the line every day, whether that’s in the classroom or in the community or on the court."
- former Sooner Lauren Shoush
Shoush Sets the StandardVideo
Lauren Shoush never took a play off. She left her impact on the court by hustling on each and every play. She is the embodiment of uncommon effort and what it means to the Oklahoma women’s basketball program.
OU head coach Sherri Coale defines uncommon effort as “going above and beyond what ordinary people would do.”
“Shoush was one of those players that you could put in the game, and she would immediately change the fabric of the game,” Coale explains. “She would dive on the floor after a loose ball. She might dive into the crowd. She might take a charge. Her desire to have the basketball would be greater than that of the other nine guys on the floor.”
Shoush, who played at OU from 2001 to 2005, now coaches at Richardson High School in Dallas. She says she has “always been too competitive” for her own good and that her father had a big impact on encouraging her to put forth her best effort on the court.
She shares: “I remember growing up, my father after every sporting event or game would always ask me, ‘How hard did you play and how good of a teammate were you?’ I remember him always emphasizing working hard and being a good teammate, and I tried to focus on that.”
For Shoush, this focus intensified when she arrived in Norman as a freshman. She admits she was intimidated by the athleticism and talent of her new teammates, and she went through a period of time when she wondered what she could bring to the team.
“We had a bunch of special people and athletes around us, and I felt like hustle is all I knew I could bring. I could bring hustle and I could bring effort and just remember in the back of my head my father and what he would tell me; that if you put your head down and you work hard, good things would happen.”
After each game, OU’s players receive recognition for various aspects of their play, and at the team’s annual postseason banquet the Sooners hand out a variety of awards. The one for hustle is fittingly named the “Shoush Factor.” Rising junior guard Gioya Carter has received it in each of her two seasons at OU.
Carter says the team aims to bring energy and effort every single day, and she views receiving the Shoush Award for two straight years as a “good accomplishment” since it reflects what the team strives to do.
“Those (hustle plays) could be winning plays or that possession could spark you of going on a run that could potentially win a game, so I think they are really important,” Carter says. “And they give energy too, so once those kind of plays happen it’s contagious to want to keep doing it again, and it rubs off on other people. So I think effort plays like that are really big.”
Having an award named after her is “extremely humbling” and gives her a sense of pride, Shoush says, adding that it is kind of Coale and her staff to associate her with hustle and hard work.
“You can’t choose what attributes and skillsets you’re born with, but you can always work hard, and if you’re willing to do that good things will happen,” Shoush says. “I think uncommon effort is being willing to put it all on the line every day, whether that’s in the classroom or in the community or on the court.
“That’s what sets OU women’s basketball apart,” Shoush continues. “It’s not just about wins and losses, but it’s about the development of all the student-athletes. I think that’s what makes OU so special is that the effort expected to be successful on the court is also expected in your daily life. I think uncommon effort is being willing to put in the hours that other people aren’t.”
Back to Work
The Sooners are back in the weight room and on the court for summer workouts, putting forth the effort to prepare for the upcoming season.Video