Best Built for the Future

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 1:33 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Feb 16, 2011 5:58 PM CDT

We are headed toward the last month of the season with all four state men&rsquo;s NCAA Division One basketball teams facing the possibility of missing the NCAA tournament.</P>&#160;</P>So perhaps it&rsquo;s time to take a look at the future and ask which program has a nucleus of young (Freshmen and Sophomore) talent that affords it the best chance to make multiple future Big Dances.</P>&#160;</P>I believe that Oral Roberts is most geared to make multiple trips to the NCAA tournament.&#160; In fact, though Oakland will be a heavy favorite to win the Summit League Tournament this season, the Golden Eagles could still slide through and make it.&#160; ORU is playing by far its best basketball of the season right now when it counts.</P>&#160;</P>ORU underclassmen:&#160; Stephen Roundtree is a good candidate to be conference freshman of the year.&#160; Sophomore forward Damen Bell-Holter is the biggest and best low-post presence in the league.&#160; Sophomore guard Warren Niles is explosive.&#160; That trio will make ORU dangerous for the next 3 seasons.</P>Next season:&#160; Leading scorer Dominique Morrison will be back for his senior season.&#160; In fact Scott Sutton&rsquo;s club returns 6 of its top 7 scorers next season.&#160; They will need more consistency from the point guard spot.</P>&#160;</P>OU underclassmen:&#160; I think the Sooners&rsquo; young talent&#160; has gotten a bad wrap at times.&#160; The core of Andrew Fitzgerald, Stephen Pledger and Cam Clark provide a solid building block.&#160; If Fitzgerald can make a big a jump from his sophomore to junior season as he did from freshman to sophomore, he could be a 19 point, 8 rebound per game guy next year.&#160; </P>Next season:&#160; Juco forward Robert Goff should play immediately and transfer Romero Osby will be a big piece of the puzzle. </P>&#160;</P>OSU underclassmen:&#160; Sophomore Jean-Paul Olukemi has had flashes of brilliance his sophomore season.&#160; Freshman Markel Brown has done the same.&#160; Michael Cobbins is redshirting this season, but should be ready to contribute as a redshirt freshman in 2011-12.&#160; Add to the mix incoming LeBryan Nash and juco forward Karron Johnson and the Pokes should see marked improvement.&#160; &#160;</P>Next season:&#160; Fred Gulley&rsquo;s return from injury or better play from Ray Penn at the point is critical.</P>&#160; </P>Tulsa underclassmen:&#160; T-U will lose Justin Hurtt, but could challenge in Conference USA next season.&#160; I love freshman Jordan Clarkson.&#160; In fact, I think that of all the in-state underclassmen he may have the highest ceiling.&#160; Sophomore Scottie Haralson is back with his three-point fireworks and sophomore Bryson Pope showed that he&rsquo;ll be a huge contributor in the backcourt.&#160; <BR/>Next season:&#160; The Golden Hurricane must find some frontcourt help to go along with returning forward Steven Idlett.</P><BR/>