#65 Oklahoma State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preveiw

Oklahoma State Cowboys

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #65
Conference Rank: #7 Big 12

Oklahoma State Team Page#65 Oklahoma State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreveiwBuy Oklahoma State Basktball Tickets

Oklahoma State snuck into the NCAA Tournament last year with an 18 win season. Once there, they lost to Oregon in the second round. But the Cowboys did deserve to be a tournament team. Sure they finished 8-10 in Big 12 play, but the Big 12 was extremely underrated top to bottom. Coach Travis Ford has his work cut out for him this year though. Three of his top four scorers are gone and Oklahoma State needs to find some new playmakers. Phil Forte III will lead the way. The 5-11 senior has been a great shooter for three years, but last season he started to attack the basket more. And he shoots 84.0 percent from the charity stripe, so getting fouled is a great way for Forte to keep the OSU offense moving.

2014-15 Record: 18-14, 8-10
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Travis Ford
Coach Record: 143-91 at Oklahoma State, 322-243 overall

Who’s Out:
Le’Bryan Nash is a huge loss for the Cowboys. During his senior season, the 6-7 wing led the team with 17.2 points per game and added 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Not many players got to the basket more effectively than Nash, and Forte cannot do everything. Starting point guard Anthony Hickey needs to be replaced too after averaging 9.8 points, 3.4 assists and 2.0 steals during his senior campaign. Michael Cobbins turned into a very tough interior force. He wasn’t going to score in double figures on a regular basis, but he was very effective on the defensive end last year. Former walk-on Christian Sager, who averaged just 4.3 minutes per game, is the other departure.

Who’s In:
The star of the recruiting class is point guard Jawun Evans. He is very quick and explosive and will get up and down the floor in a hurry. Evans is the type of player that can dictate tempo and push the tempo. For a team that needs somebody to make things happen, Evans is the guy Coach Travis Ford will want to have with the ball in his hands. Small forward Davon Dillard is the only other incoming freshman in this class. But Coach Ford is adding a couple big guys with experience. Igor Ibaka comes from the junior college ranks where he played one season at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M back in 2013-2014. He is a decent interior scorer and a solid rebounder, but he was out of the game last year and may need some time to get back into form. While Ibaka was not playing basketball, Chris Olivier was having a great junior year at Eastern Illinois. The 6-8, 245 pound graduate transfer averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks with the Panthers last season. He is not going to come in and dominate the Big 12, but Olivier is a solid big man who can make a pretty big impact.

Who to Watch:
Oklahoma State has a lot of depth on their team that really didn’t get to show what they could do last season. The Cowboys have had some very good recruiting classes recently and there is a bevy of sophomores who are ready to step into bigger roles. Versatile 6-6 wing Joe Burton only played in nine games last year, but he was a pretty big recruit in the 2014 class. Another wing, Tavarius Shine saw more action last year, averaging 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds. He was usually the first wing off of the bench and he can knock down some three-pointers. Jeffrey Carroll was a part of the 2013 recruiting class, but redshirted due to the amount of wing talent in front of him. Last year he cracked the regular rotation for a time and proved to be a capable scorer off of the bench. The sophomore talent continues beyond the wings though. Point guard Tyree Griffin averaged just 10.3 minutes per game, but did manage to dish out 1.1 assists. He will likely remain in a reserve role. The final returning sophomore is Mitchell Solomon, a 6-9, 235 pound forward. He is not going to be a big time scoring threat, but Solomon has already proven to be very effective on the other end of the floor.

Final Projection:
As if there were not enough sophomore wings, junior Leyton Hammonds adds even more options for Coach Ford. The problem for this team is going to be in the frontcourt. They will likely play small with some of those versatile wings manning the power forward spot. And that is fine, but it will put a lot of pressure on Solomon, Olivier and redshirt senior Anthony Allen. If those three can manage to block a few shots and at least be a threat offensively, and give Coach Ford options to play bigger as needed, this will be a dangerous Oklahoma State team. However, the NCAA Tournament appears a year or two off.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Jawun Evans, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Phil Forte III, Senior, Guard, 15.0 points per game
Jeff Newberry, Senior, Guard, 6.7 points per game
Tavarius Shine, Sophomore, Forward, 3.4 points per game
Mitchell Solomon, Sophomore, Center, 1.2 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.5 (169th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.8 (73, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.0 (135, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.3 (63, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (95, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.9 (148, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.6 (58, 2)
Rebound Margin: -1.9 (264, 10)
Assists Per Game: 11.4 (256, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (147, 4)

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#26 Juwan Evans


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