2003 Tulsa Basketball Early Outlook
By: Chris Harmon, Tulsa SportsWeb
Over the past 23 years, Tulsa basketball has become one of the most successful programs in the country, winning 500 games. During that span, Tulsa has participated in 18 post-season tournaments, advancing three times to the NCAA Tournament’s “Sweet Sixteen” and once to the “Elite Eight”. The Golden Hurricane has also won the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) title twice.
The 2002-03 season was no different, as Tulsa went 23-10, garnered the WAC Tournament title and added another NCAA Tournament victory, defeating the 4th-seeded Dayton Flyers, 84-71. The Hurricane obtained at least 20 wins for the fifth straight year and nine out of the last ten seasons, while advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fourteenth time overall and the eighth time in the last ten years.
Tulsa began the season with a 7-1 record, losing only to Kansas by nine points and moving up as far as #17 in the polls. However, the Golden Hurricane slumped, losing six of their next ten games, ending with the dismissal of starting guard Antonio Reed. With an 11-7 record and the appearance of team turmoil, many left TU for dead.
Head coach John Phillips rallied his troops, and the team was given a shot in the arm, when Jarius Glenn was inserted into the starting line-up. TU responded by winning eleven of their next thirteen contests and capturing the WAC Tournament title. They were playing their best basketball of the season heading into their NCAA Tournament.
After defeating Dayton in the first round, Tulsa held a 13-point lead over Wisconsin with 3:35 remaining. However, the Badgers completed a 16-2 run that culminated with a three-pointer at the buzzer to give them a one point victory. Tulsa’s season was over and five seniors were departing, but the Hurricane had turned around a season that seemed over in late January.
The focus quickly turned to the off-season and replacing the talented senior class. Tulsa coaches signed a stellar recruiting class and also identified some gifted walk-ons. Below is a capsule of the incoming players:
- Kenneth Kelley, 6-1, 175 lb, Carter High School (Dallas, TX)
Kelley finished his senior season averaging 21.7 points per game, while shooting 59.7% from the field, 52.3% from beyond the arc, and 70.9% from the free throw line. He was the second leading scorer and fourth leading three-point shooter in District 10-5A, leading his team to a 28-6 record. Kelley was named MVP of District 10-5A, and was listed as Second-Team All-Area by the Dallas Morning News. As a junior, Kelley averaged 19.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game. He shot over 50-percent from the field and 80-percent from the free throw line. Kelley chose TU over offers from Baylor, TCU and UNC-Wilmington, and was also considering Oklahoma, SMU and North Texas. He is listed as an Honorable Mention FutureStars (Van Coleman) All-American and is rated as the 22nd best player in Texas by Texas Roundball.
Mike Kunstadt of Texas Hoops rates Kelley as the 15th best player in Texas. “(Kelley) is a smooth player who can break down the defense off the dribble and finish at the rim,” he explained. “He can really stroke the threes and can create his own shot. He is a very good ball handler and passer and has a nice feel for the game.”
- Brett McDade, 5-11, 165 lb, Ryan High School (Denton, TX)
McDade completed his senior season with per game averages of 26.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.7 steals, while shooting 52.8% from the field, 40.9% from beyond the arc, and 72.4% from the free throw line. He was the leading scorer and fifth leading three-point shooter in District 6-4A, leading his team to a 27-6 record. The cat-quick guard was named MVP of District 6-4A and was listed to the TABC 4A All-State Team and Dallas Morning News All-Area Third-Team. He was also a first-team all-district selection for the third year. McDade is rated as the 14th best player in Texas by Texas Roundball and was named to the rosters for the TABC 4A/5A All-star game and the Oil Bowl Basketball Classic. He is listed among the Hoop Scoop Top 200 national players and was named Honorable Mention FutureStars (Van Coleman) All-American. McDade chose TU over offers from Louisiana Tech, Houston, Drake and North Texas, and was also being courted by Oklahoma and St. Johns. As a junior, McDade averaged 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.6 steals per game while leading his team to a 20-9 record. He shot 53-percent from the field, 73-percent from the free throw line, and once again garnered District MVP honors. He was the District Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore when he averaged 16.0 points.
“(McDade) is very athletic with great leaping ability,” Mike Kunstadt described. “(He) has an excellent first step and great body control and knows how to get to the basket and finish or draw a foul. (He is) a nice three-point shooter, can handle and is a good passer.”
- Charles Ramsdell, 6-10, 215 lb, Kingfisher High School (Kingfisher, OK)
Ramsdell finished his senior season averaging 20.2 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game. He is a member of the 2002-2003 McDonalds All-State Team, as well as being nominated as a McDonalds All-American. Ramsdell was also named Pre-season All-State, Clinton Shootout MVP, Kingfisher County MVP, and was included on the Northwest All-Star Team, the OBCA Class 4A All-Star Team, the Oklahoma Faith 7 Team and the Little All-City First Team. Coming into his senior year, Ramsdell was rated by Hoop Scoop as the 13th best prospect in his region, which included Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. He was also listed as a Top 5 player in Oklahoma. As a junior, Ramsdell averaged 16.2 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots. He shot 60-percent from the field and 72-percent from the free throw line, while earning second-team Little all-city, and being named to the Lindsay Shootout all-tournament team. Ramsdell chose TU over offers from SMU, Colorado State and Wichita State, while getting heavy interest from OSU, and Kansas State. He is also a three-time state high-jump champion, clearing 6 feet, 10 inches, a mark reached by only four others since 1983.
“Charles is a real steal with his height and athletic ability,” said Tulsa head basketball coach John Phillips. “He will give us a solid inside-outside presence. Not only does he have good height, but is also a great athlete who fills an immediate need.”
- Guilherme Teichmann, 6-9, 215 lb, South Plains College (Levelland, TX)
Teichmann, from Santa Cruz, Brazil, averaged 7.1 points and 4.4 rebounds while playing 31.2 minutes per game this past season. He also added 37 assists, 36 steals and 27 blocked shots, while shooting 42-percent from the field and 39-percent from three-point range in his sophomore season. He helped South Plains College post an overall 31-4 record and national ranking of sixth during the 2002-03 season. His team won the conference and regional titles in each of his two seasons, and advanced to the NJCAA national tournament. Teichmann is one of five South Plains players moving on to play Division I basketball. Texas, Florida, BYU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, New Mexico and Baylor were just a few of the schools that evaluated him. Tulsa eventually beat out offers from Wyoming, South Alabama and Central Michigan.
“Guilherme is very skilled,” said South Plains coach Steve Green. “He sees the floor well and has great instincts. He's a very good all-around player. He does all the things a guard can do, but he does it at 6-9. This is a great opportunity for Guilherme. Tulsa is a great fit for him.”
- Oswaldo Gonzalez, 6-9, 240 lb, Jacksonville College (Jacksonville, TX)
Gonzalez, from Caracas, Venezuela, averaged 10.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks this past season for the Jaguars. He shot 52-percent from the field as a sophomore and had high games of 19 points vs. Trinity Valley College and 15 rebounds against Lon Morris College. A two-year starter, Gonzalez led his team to consecutive 17-14 records and two straight appearances in the Region XIV Tournament. He earned honorable mention all-region accolades in his sophomore season and played in the National JUCO All-Star Game for the USA All-Star team against the Region II All-Stars, tallying 9 points and 12 rebounds. He was rated as the #3 JUCO power forward by The Sporting News and as the #10 JUCO center by Van Coleman and Lindy’s. Gonzalez chose TU over offers from College of Charleston, New Mexico State and South Alabama. New Mexico and Nebraska were also in the hunt.
“Oswaldo is very athletic and strong,” Jacksonville head coach Brandon Curran stated. “He's a shot blocker, can rebound and is effective in the paint scoring. More importantly, he's a great person. He's the model of what kind of player we want in our program at Jacksonville. He'll fit in well at Tulsa.”
- Luke Dobbins, 6-1, 185 lb, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (Miami, OK)
This past season at NEO, Dobbins averaged 11 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds per contest. He shot 49 percent from the three point line, 89 percent from the charity stripe, and had an assist to turnover ratio of 3 to 1. He signed with Southwest Missouri State out of high school and started ten games as a freshman, averaging 5.3 points, 3.8 assists and 1.1 rebounds per game. He then redshirted the next season due to injury and transferred to NEO. Dobbins turned down several scholarship offers in order to walk-on at Tulsa and was evaluated by Oral Roberts, Southwest Texas State and Louisiana-Lafayette. He scored 2,262 points in his career at Tahlequah High School, a large-school classification record in Oklahoma. Dobbins averaged 23 points per game for his high school career, was selected to the Daily Oklahoman Super Five Team and was named First-Team All-State and Player of the Year in the Metro Lakes Conference and in District Three.
“Luke is a good shooter and a hard worker,” NEO head coach Jason Turk stated. “He is a very strong kid that has a lot of court savvy.”
- Sam Belt, 6-4, 205 lb, Broken Arrow High School (Broken Arrow, OK)
Belt will join the Tulsa basketball team as a walk-on. During his senior season in high school, Belt averaged 17.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.1 steals per game, while shooting 46.3% (164-of-354) from the field, 31.2% (48-of-154) from beyond the arc, and 63.4% (83-of-131) from the charity stripe. He also carried a 4.3 GPA in the classroom. Belt was named First-Team All-State and garnered Frontier Conference Co-Player of the Year honors.
Senior guard Jason Parker started all 33 games last season, leading the Hurricane in scoring, assists and steals, and should be a lock for the Pre-Season All-WAC squad. Parker averaged 15.4 points, 4.1 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals, while playing 33.8 minutes per game. His court savvy and confidence, along with his ability to get open looks, make him the most potent scoring option in the upcoming season. As a Second-Team All-WAC selection last year, Parker scored 20+ points on seven occasions, collecting a career-high 33 points against Louisiana Tech. He set a new Tulsa record of three-pointers made when he nailed eight treys against Wichita State.
Leading for a starting spot alongside Parker is sophomore shooting guard Seneca Collins. The 6-foot-5 Collins is a burly wing player that gained confidence throughout last season. He possesses deceiving quickness and is a good defender. Collins moves well without the ball and can punch it in from deep, connecting on 4-of-8 three-pointers against UTEP last March for a career-high 12 points. He has progressed very well during the off-season, after averaging 1.8 points in 7.3 minutes of action per game.
A bevy of talented guards will rotate into the backcourt as reserves for the Hurricane, including Chris Wallace, a textbook point guard that played in 26 games as a freshman last season. When he is on the court, he looks to get others involved and plays aggressive defense. The Broken Arrow product rarely looks to score, but can make you pay if guarded loosely, and he provides solid relief for the starting guards. Wallace averaged 1.2 points in 7.6 minutes per game last year and has had some excellent moments in off-season pick-up games.
Also pushing for time will be walk-on transfer Luke Dobbins and two Texas freshmen, Brett McDade and Kenneth Kelley. Dobbins is one of the best three-point shooters around and started ten games as a freshman at Southwest Missouri State. Last season at NEO A&M, he averaged 11 points and six assists, while producing an assist to turnover ration of 3-to-1. His experience and shooting ability will be a big asset for Tulsa.
McDade and Kelley were both rated among the top fifteen players in Texas as high school seniors last year. The ultra-quick guards were teammates on their AAU summer team, Texas Top Prospects, and will both push for immediate playing time. Coach Phillips has likened the duo to recent Tulsa guards Antonio Reed and Dante Swanson. They are extremely athletic, can shoot it from deep and play hounding defense.
Walk-on Sam Belt and Kyle Blankenship, a redshirt sophomore, round out the backcourt options. A former walk-on, Blankenship practices as hard as anyone, but likely will not see much court time due to the talented players in front of him. He saw action in two games last season before injuring his knee and receiving a medical hardship.
Starting on the wing will be dynamic junior Jarius Glenn, who has played in all 67 games over the last two seasons. The 6-foot-6 Glenn had a breakout year as a sophomore, starting 21 contests and compiling per game averages of 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 25.7 minutes of action. He increased his shooting percentages throughout the season, hitting 52 percent from the field, 40 percent beyond the arc and 69 percent at the charity stripe. An intense defender with enormous athleticism, Glenn has become a complete player. Not only does he run the floor well, but he has the ability to attack the basket and draw fouls. His outside shot has continued to develop, and he has become the emotional sparkplug for the team.
A blend of guards and forwards will provide relief on the wing, including Seneca Collins and 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore Trevor Meier. While also able to slide over to shooting guard, Meier showed flashes of excellence in his limited action last season, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in his 27 minutes that were spread over 11 games.
Incoming players Charles Ramsdell and Guilherme Teichmann may also see some time on the wing. At 6-foot-10 and 6-foot-9 respectively, both players would provide big challenges at that position for opposing defenders. They can knock down the three ball, run the floor well and possess good ball-handling and passing skills for their size.
While Tulsa is once again loaded with guards, the big question rests on their frontcourt. The Hurricane lost their top three weapons up front to graduation and bring in three very talented, yet unproven players to take their place.
Looking to man the post will be 6-foot-9, 240-pound junior college all-star Oswaldo Gonzalez. The Venezuela native transferred from Jacksonville College in Jacksonville, Texas, where he averaged 10 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks as a sophomore. Gonzalez is big and athletic and can score in the paint with either hand. He is an aggressive rebounder that runs the floor well and should make an immediate impact.
As the only returnee with experience in the frontcourt, 6-foot-8 sophomore Anthony Price may get the starting nod at the four spot. He has been making big strides in the off-season and was TU’s most impressive freshman last year, averaging 2.3 points and 1.8 points in 8.8 minutes per game. As the only frosh to play in all 33 games, Price worked hard on both ends of the floor, creating steals, diving for loose balls and playing aggressive defense. He gets out on the break well, enjoys finishing with authority and can create space for his left-handed jumper. Once Price learns to stay out of foul trouble, he will continue the recent tradition of dominant Tulsa power forwards.
Also contending for time will be true freshman Charles Ramsdell and junior transfer Guilherme Teichmann. Ramsdell is a three-time state high-jump champion that has played every position on the basketball court. He is highly athletic at 6-foot-10 and enjoys a good shooting touch and ball handling skills. Ramsdell will likely find a way to contribute at one position or another.
Teichmann transferred from South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. Although not quite as athletic as Ramsdell, Teichmann can dribble, pass and shoot equally well. He averaged 7.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game on a team that produced five Division-1 signees and rang up a 31-4 record. The Brazilian should be a good role player in the upcoming season.
Developing big man Aliou Keita will supplement the stable of frontcourt players. The 6-foot-8 sophomore’s skills are still maturing, but he has progressed in the off-season, and his 260-pound frame and seven foot wingspan give him loads of potential.
Last season’s squad boasted a senior class that played over 140 games, posted a winning percentage over 75%, and put together an amazing 10-3 postseason tournament record over four years. Those five players are now gone, taking with them a mountain of ability and experience.
However, the cupboard is not bare. The 2003-04 team welcomes back two starters and a young supporting cast, while also incorporating talented junior college transfers. The key will be how quickly the new combination of players can develop into a cohesive unit.
With the troubles that surrounded the team during the middle of last season, there is a chance that this group may exceed the level of chemistry obtained by the preceding squad. Strong summer workouts and a lone senior leader may just facilitate that process. If that scenario does indeed materialize, this Tulsa team will likely be a 20-game winner for the tenth time in the last eleven seasons.
Chris Harmon covers University of Tulsa athletics for Tulsa SportsWeb and is the editor of the Hurricane Alert newsletter.
Chris can be e-mailed at Chris@TulsaSportsWeb.com .
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