#48 Tulsa Men's Basketball Preview

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Overall Rank: #48
Conference Rank: #2 Conference USA
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2010-11: 19-13, 11-5
2010-11 postseason: none
Coach: Doug Wojcik (123-78 at Tulsa, 123-78 overall)

Coach Doug Wojcik has fewer questions to answer this year than he did last season when a couple NBA prospects left his Tulsa program. Even while rebuilding, and dealing with some injuries, the Golden Hurricane was a strong team in conference play, finishing with an 11-5 record in C-USA play. This year the microscope may be on point guard Donte Medder. Medder was a fine player as a freshman in 2009-2010, but tore his ACL at the end of the season. When he attempted to return last season, he played for just five minutes before reinjuring the same knee. Medder proved to be a capable player back when he was healthy. Now he will be the first in line to take over the point guard duties.

Who’s Out:
Justin Hurtt is the player who stepped up last season. Somebody will now have to step up and replace his 20.0 points per game. Hurtt obviously had a superb senior season and he would shoot the long ball and easily attack the basket. Hurtt was often used as a scoring point guard, which is nothing new for Tulsa. Yet, it will take more than one player to fill all the roles Hurtt provided for this team. The transfer of Bryson Pope adds some questions about depth on the wings. Glenn Andrews is also gone after playing in just two games last season. The perimeter depth last season was pretty slim too, but now it will be less experienced. Shane Heirman even averaged nearly nine minutes per game and his departure only adds to the questions.

Who’s In:
The issues of depth on the perimeter will mostly have to be answered by freshmen Eric McClellan and Rashad Smith. McClellan is a true point guard who will at least have to step into a backup role right away. He is a good scorer, but McClellan does look to pass first and that may be just what this team needs. His minutes will mostly be dictated by the health of Medder, but Tulsa has a fine option if Medder cannot stay healthy. Smith is the best newcomer of the bunch. The 6-7 small forward will immediately provide most of the depth at the three spot and could turn into a major contributor off of the bench. He is a lanky athlete who can score in bunches and help the frontcourt out on the glass. Brandon Swannegan and David Wilson will not be asked to contribute much as freshmen and the big men can concentrate on adjusting to life in C-USA for now.

Who to Watch:
The Golden Hurricane ushered in two great new guards last season who are ready to take over the scoring load left behind by Hurtt. It is hoped they can emerge as leaders as well. Sophomore Jordan Clarkson spent much of last season coming in off of the bench, but he still was third on the team with 11.5 points per game. He is not a great shooter, but the 6-4 guard can get to the basket. With a little more work on his outside shot, Clarkson will be one of the best players in the conference before his time at Tulsa is over. Scottie Haralson spent one year at Connecticut before suiting up for the Golden Hurricane in 2010-2011. Despite his 6-4 frame, Haralson is mostly a shooter. While Clarkson works on his shooting, Haralson needs to be more aggressive attacking the basket. With a year in the system, both players should improve and that gives Tulsa a great duo on the wings that only Memphis can match for talent in C-USA. Tim Peete showed some promise during his freshman campaign and he will need to be ready to play a few more minutes as the primary backup shooting guard.

Final Projection:
The wings are full of potential, but the frontcourt is full of proven players. Steven Idlet, a 6-11 senior, averaged 11.6 points and 6.3 rebounds last season and will again be the dominating interior force on this team. The nice thing is he will have Joe Richard or D.J. Magley by his side. Richard is only 6-6, but he is a big bodied player who is a superb rebounder. Magley is a little better scorer, but not as strong on the glass. Kodi Maduka had a decent freshman season and proved to be a capable defender and shot blocker. With those four, Coach Doug Wojcik has plenty of talented bodies in the frontcourt. But the big question is at the point guard spot. If Medder or McClellan can create opportunities for all of the talented players on this team, Tulsa will be a very strong team and should be right in the mix for an NCAA Tournament berth.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Donte Medder, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Jordan Clarkson, Sophomore, Guard, 11.5 points per game
Scottie Haralson, Junior, Guard, 10.9 points per game
Joe Richard, Senior, Forward, 3.7 points per game
Steven Idlet, Senior, Forward, 11.6 points per game

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