#44 Oklahoma State Men's Basketball Preview

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Overall Rank: #44
Conference Rank: #6 Big 12
Oklahoma State Men's College Basketball Logo
Oklahoma State Team Page

2010-11: 20-14, 6-10
2010-11 postseason: NIT
Coach: Travis Ford (63-37 at Oklahoma State, 255-183 overall)

The 2010-2011 campaign was a disappointing one for Oklahoma State. Coming off of two straight NCAA appearances, the Cowboys expected more than an NIT berth. However, poor shooting and inconsistent point guard play plagued OSU. Keiton Page may have to run the point quite a bit due to lack of other experienced options. Page is occasionally a good shooter, but has added another dynamic to his scoring by being more aggressive attacking the basket. However, he can be a liability on defense and his shooting numbers need to go back up where they were a couple years ago if this team is going to remedy their shooting woes.

Who’s Out:
The biggest losses are up front. Marshall Moses led the team with 14.1 points per game and added 7.3 rebounds. Matt Pilgrim started 22 games last season and helped out on the glass tremendously. Without those two, Coach Travis Ford will likely play a little smaller and move a little faster. Nick Sidorakis is also gone after starting 22 games on the wing last season. The Cowboys were also hit hard by some transfers with Ray Penn and Roger Franklin leaving the program. Penn, when he was around, was the point guard last year and could have emerged as a more consistent player down the road.

Who’s In:
The newcomers give this squad a lot of hope. Le’Bryan Nash is the big name recruit. He could have gone anywhere and will immediately make a big splash in the Big 12. Nash is a great athlete and may be around for just one season. On this team the 6-7 wing may end up playing the four spot and that will give the Cowboys the opportunity to get up and down the floor. However, for that to work, OSU needs a point guard. C.J. Guerrero may be the answer. Guerrero can be the playmaker that this team so desperately needs. The other impact newcomer is junior college transfer Philip Jurick. The 6-11, 270 pounder may not get up and down the floor very well, but he is much needed big body who can hit the glass. Those are the big three new guys, but redshirt freshman power forward Michael Cobbins and center Marek Soucek will be needed to add depth to the frontcourt. Brian Williams and Christien Sager are both capable of providing some quality minutes on the perimeter if needed.

Who to Watch:
If the Cowboys want to, or have to, play smaller, they will need a big year out of Jean-Paul Olukemi. The 6-6 junior emerged as a fine scorer last season and proved to be a great athlete who could attack the basket with ease. Teaming him up with Nash will provide plenty of highlight reel action. However, Olukemi and Nash will have to do a lot of work on the glass and the defensive end of the floor or this team will not get any better than they were last season. Markel Brown, Reger Dowell and Fred Gulley, who missed most of last season, give the Cowboys plenty of experience on the perimeter. It would be nice if those guys were true point guards or shooters, but they are pretty much slashing wings. This team has to shoot better and find somebody who can create opportunities for all of the slashing wings.

Final Projection:
Darrell Wiliams is a real big man who averaged 7.1 points and 7.3 rebounds last season. With Williams on the floor, Oklahoma State can be a decent rebounding squad. However, Williams is currently suspended due to legal issues and will almost certainly miss at least the beginning of the season, if not the entire season. Without Williams, this becomes a team with a lot of wings and one big guy under the basket. OSU has worked with this formula before relatively successfully, but in this case they are relying on a lot of newcomers. Nash is a stud, but Guerrero will have to learn quickly. No matter who ends up playing where, this is a very talented and athletic team and that alone should keep them in most games.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
C.J. Guerrero, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Keiton Page, Senior, Guard, 13.2 points per game
Jean-Paul Olukemi, Junior, Guard, 11.1 points per game
Le’Bryan Nash, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Phillip Jurick, Junior, Center, DNP last season

Madness 2012 NBA Draft Rankings:
#19 LeBryan Nash

Madness 2011 Men's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#9 LeBryan Nash
#87 Cezar Guerrero

Check out another story about Oklahoma State basketball