KNOW THY ENEMY: Oklahoma State Cowboys

OklahomaState

This installment of KNOW THY ENEMY should come in handy, because the Oklahoma State Cowboys have a bevy of new faces this year.

Hit the jump for a preview of this mystery team.

The Story So Far

The Cowboys are 10-1, with the only blemish coming at Tulsa (by 21 points), but none of the wins really stand out as signature victories.

Seattle, Southern, North Texas, Prairie View A&M, Bradley, Utah, UTSA, UAPB, La Salle -- this is a soft non-conference schedule, and with games upcoming against Pacific, Rhode Island and Coppin State, it's not getting any tougher.

The win at Stanford is the only "W" of note, but even that is tainted -- Oklahoma State blew a 15-point lead to a 5-6 Stanford team to win by one point. For all the preseason love they were getting, the Cowboys should be better than that.

So, we won't truly know what this team is made of until mid-January at the earliest, and perhaps not even then.

They could tank once they play good teams in the Big 12, or they could rise to the occasion and make consecutive tournament appearances. It's hard to say. They seem to have some talent, but they haven't really put it all together yet.

Current Oklahoma State RPI: 39

 

The Coach

TravisFord

Travis Ford
Second Season

33-13 (9-7) at Oklahoma State
223-159 (93-87) overall

Bio

 

The Departures

 

Starters

  • Byron Eaton (31.7 minutes per game | 14.3 points per game | 3.7 rebounds per game)
  • Terrel Harris (31.7 minutes per game | 13.9 points per game | 4.8 rebounds per game)

Reserves

  • Blaine Booher (2 minutes per game | 0.7 point per game | 0.7 rebound per game)
  • Anthony Brown (13.2 minutes per game | 2.4 points per game | 2.1 rebounds per game)
  • Nolan Cox (1 minute per game | 0 points per game | 0 rebounds per game)
  • Greg Hughes (1 minute per game | 2 points per game | 0 rebounds per game)
  • Malcolm Kirkland (9.7 minutes per game | 2.3 points per game | 1.9 rebounds per game)
  • Ibrahima Thomas (20.6 minutes per game | 8.3 points per game | 3.9 rebounds per game)
  • Scott Warner (1.3 minutes per game | 0.3 point per game | 0 rebounds per game)

 

The Veterans

ObiMuonelo

#2 Obi Muonelo
Senior Guard
6-5 | 220
Edmond, Okla.

Bio

24.9 minutes per game | 10.4 points per game | 5.4 rebounds per game

KeitonPage

#12 Keiton Page
Sophomore Guard
5-9 | 170
Pawnee, Okla.

Bio

32.8 minutes per game | 10.7 points per game | 1.5 rebounds per game

NickSidorakis

#15 Nick Sidorakis
Junior Guard
6-4 | 185
Jenks, Okla.

Bio

4 minutes per game | 0 points per game | 0.3 rebound per game

TeengAkol

#22 Teeng Akol
Sophomore Center
6-11 | 230
Wian, Sudan

Bio

0 minutes per game | 0 points per game | 0 rebounds per game

JamesAnderson

#23 James Anderson
Junior Guard
6-6 | 210
Junction City, Ark.

Bio

33.7 minutes per game | 21.8 points per game | 6 rebounds per game

GarrettThomas

#25 Garrett Thomas
Junior Guard
6-2 | 180
Edmond, Okla.

Bio

1 minute per game | 0 points per game | 1 rebound per game

MarshallMoses

#33 Marshall Moses
Junior Forward
6-7 | 240
Aiken, S.C.

Bio

27.3 minutes per game | 11.8 points per game | 9.6 rebounds per game

 

The Redshirt

StevenCantrell

#41 Steven Cantrell
Sophomore Forward
6-6 | 210
Broken Arrow, Okla.

Bio

0 minutes per game | 0 points per game | 0 rebounds per game

 

The Newcomers

JarredShaw

#1 Jarred Shaw
Freshman Center
6-10 | 230
Dallas, Texas

Bio

2.1 minutes per game | 0 points per game | 0.9 rebound per game

RegerDowell

#5 Reger Dowell
Freshman Guard
6-1 | 180
Duncanville, Texas

Bio

3.7 minutes per game | 0.7 point per game | 0.7 rebound per game

TorinWalker

#10 Torin Walker
Freshman Center
6-11 | 245
Columbus, Ga.

Bio

2 minutes per game | 0.5 point per game | 0 rebounds per game

RayPenn

#14 Ray Penn
Freshman Guard
5-9 | 165
Houston, Texas

Bio

29.8 minutes per game | 8.5 points per game | 1.7 rebounds per game

 

FredGulley

#21 Fred Gulley
Freshman Guard
6-2 | 175
Fayetteville, Ark.

Bio

18 minutes per game | 1.4 points per game | 2.5 rebounds per game

MattPilgrim

#31 Matt Pilgrim
Junior Forward
6-8 | 235
Cincinnati, Ohio

Bio

15.7 minutes per game | 7.5 points per game | 6.1 rebounds per game

RogerFranklin

#32 Roger Franklin
Freshman Forward
6-5 | 220
Duncanville, Texas

Bio

12 minutes per game | 3.9 points per game | 2.2 rebounds per game

LeeLedford

#43 Lee Ledford
Sophomore Guard
6-0 | 180
Perkins, Okla.

Bio

0 minutes per game | 0 points per game | 0 rebounds per game

My thanks to the Oklahoma State sports information department for the photos.

 

The Analysis

Wow, talk about cleaning house.

Travis Ford lost two starters off last year's team to graduation, and seven other players who were on last year's roster are not on this year's. Some, such as Ibrihima Thomas, chose to transfer out due to the coaching change (although Thomas strangely started seven games first). Others probably were asked to leave or were walk-ons who grew tired of "all work, no scholarship."

So to replace the irreplaceable Byron Eaton and his partner in crime, Terrel Harris -- as well as all those other warm bodies -- Ford turned to a complex group of freshmen and transfers. It was by far the largest Big 12 recruiting class this year.

Of those, incoming freshman Ray Penn was the most highly touted, and he has lived up to his promise, starting nine of 11 games and averaging nearly double digits. Though small, Penn has the potential to be pain in the Big 12's ass for years to come.

But Penn's primary role is as a distributor, and does he ever have some weapons to whom to distribute the ball: Guards Keiton Page, Obi Muonelo and James Anderson, and forward Marshall Moses, all are averaging double digits -- and Anderson is the leading scorer in the Big 12, even ahead of Jacob Pullen.

Page made a splash last year as a freshman sharpshooter. Muonelo, this young team's only senior, always had promise, but finally is beginning to show some consistency. Anderson is nothing short of phenomenal -- he should be mentioned in the same breath as Craig Brackins, but rarely is. And Moses really broke out last season and is the closest thing to an effective post this team has.

That's because OSU is, first and foremost, a team of guards. Muonelo, Page, Nick Sidorakis, Anderson, Garrett Thomas, Reger Dowell, Penn, Fred Gulley, Lee Ledford -- all guards, some of them rather small.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Ford basically is running a four-guard system. The strange thing is, he's really only operated with an eight-man rotation so far, which is unusual, given the kind of up-and-down-the-court style he likes to play.

The only exceptions to this categorization are Moses and Matt Pilgrim, a forward transfer from Hampton by way of Kentucky. Oh, sure, there's Teeng Akol (but he hasn't played yet this year for some reason), Steven Cantrell (a transfer from Oklahoma City who likewise hasn't played), and freshman centers Jarred Shaw and Torin Walker (collecting spare minutes, but don't really fit the system yet).

But my sense is that Moses and Pilgrim will collect the majority of significant minutes once Big 12 play begins.

Coupled with the two starting guards, who both are shorter than six feet tall, that will leave the Cowboys undersized in most games they play this winter. They'll have to shoot well to overcome that.

 

Projected Big 12 Starting Lineup

RayPenn KeitonPage ObiMuonelo JamesAnderson MarshallMoses
Ray Penn Keiton Page Obi Muonelo James Anderson Marshall Moses
1 2 3 4 5

 

Projected Top Big 12 Reserves

RegerDowell FredGulley RogerFranklin MattPilgrim JarredShaw
Reger Dowell Fred Gulley Roger Franklin Matt Pilgrim Jarred Shaw
1 2 3 4 5

 

The Final Verdict

Due to the smaller and less deep frontcourt presence, the slew of new players added to the team this summer, and the team's reliance on short guards to shoot the 3-ball, Oklahoma State does not strike me as the sort of team that will secure a bye for the first day of the Big 12 tournament.

That said, it's hard to scoff at four scorers in double figures. That's what K-State has, after all. The difference is that K-State has played a slew of good teams, and O-State largely has played nobody.

It's hard to know what to make of this team. I think you have to give a nod to Ford and what he was able to do with Sean Sutton's leftovers -- which was make the NCAA Tournament.

Oklahoma State is an upper-division team, but probably not much more than that. A repeat appearance in the Big Dance would be a remarkable success and set the stage for brighter things to come next year, when all of these freshmen become battle-hardened sophomores.

Big 12 preseason prediction: 6th

My predicted finish: T-5th (with Texas Tech)

Best-case scenario: 3rd

Against K-State?: Loss in Manhattan

 

Previously on KNOW THY ENEMY...

  1. ???
  2. Texas (T-1st with Kansas)
  3. ???
  4. Texas A&M
  5. ???
  6. ???
  7. ???
  8. ???
  9. ???
  10. Missouri (T-9th with Iowa State)
  11. ???
  12. Colorado
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