First basketball, then the mayorship: Oklahoma's Khadeem Lattin has his sights set beyond the game

ByRyan Aber

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Khadeem Lattin knows exactly what he wants to do after his basketball career.

“At the end of the day, when the ball goes flat for me, I would love to go back to Houston and be the mayor,” Lattin said.

Oklahoma’s junior forward still has plenty of basketball in him, including Wednesday, when the Sooners host Oral Roberts at 7 p.m. at Lloyd Noble Center.

Lattin recently took a step into the realm of leadership and politics when he was selected to join the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee.

“It’s a fantastic experience and a fantastic honor that kind of reflects the leadership ability and the progress he’s made,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “It’s a great, great opportunity.”

Lattin’s two-year term as a nonvoting member began immediately after his appointment.

The only other current collegiate athlete on the committee is North Carolina-Asheville’s Kevin Vannatta.

Other members of the committee include Kansas coach Bill Self, Georgia State’s Ron Hunter, Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis and Big East commissioner Val Ackerman.

The committee works to maintain oversight of the sport, to enhance the development and public perception and make recommendations related to both regular-season and postseason men’s basketball. It also aims to promote student-athletes’ personal growth and the development of leadership skills.

Lattin was first approached about applying for the spot in late summer by OU athletic director Joe Castiglione.

Lattin was a bit unsure about submitting an application but decided it was something he wanted to pursue.

He arrived at his decision after talking to several other people, including former OU football player Ty Darlington.

Darlington was one of 14 other NCAA athletes who represented all college athletes at the 2015 NCAA Convention. He had participated in similar committees within the Big 12.

“He actually walked me through the process on what I had to do and who I had to talk to,” Lattin said. “He just told me to go in there with an open mind and something of value to bring. Every time, come in there prepared and just be ready to have the conversation.”

Lattin hasn’t yet decided which issues he’ll raise as part of that conversation, but during the season, he’ll be asked to participate in some conference calls and possibly Skype meetings before taking part in in-person discussions during the offseason.

Lattin said his political aspirations started at KIPP Liberation College Prep Middle School in Houston.

“I went to a really progressive, forward-thinking middle school that just always said, ‘Give back to your community,’” Lattin said. “That was instilled in me even back home from my mom. That was always something that I thought about.”

He quickly settled on trying to make a difference in local politics and has since decided to major in political science at OU.

“I personally feel like a lot of times everybody wants to inspire change, but no one knows how to do it,” Lattin said. “If we get some more voice involved with legislation and stuff like that, then we can really expound upon our views and values.”