OSU basketball is an outlier in the crazy off-season of 2021. The Cowboys have a relatively stable roster.
That is not the norm.
The NCAA transfer portal, coupled with the new rule that allows one-time immediate eligibility for transfers, has created a free-agent frenzy in college hoops.
It’s hard to keep up. The transfers have slowed – the grace period ends June 30 – but still occur. Just a few days ago, Texas Tech got star forward Bryson Williams from Texas-El Paso. So movement hasn’t stopped.
The Big 12 is divided into two camps. OSU joins Baylor, Kansas State and West Virginia with relatively stable rosters. Not much different than in the days before free agency.
But OU, Tech, Texas Christian, Kansas, Iowa State and Texas have new-look teams.
Here’s an update on each basketball roster in the Big 12, as it pertains to the comings and goings of transfers, ranked by overhaul.
1. Texas Tech
Coming in: Bryson Williams, 6-8, r-sr., Texas-El Paso; Sadaar Calhoun, 6-6, jr., Florida State; Davion Warren, 6-6, sr., Hampton; Mylik Wilson, 6-3, so., Louisiana-Lafayette; Daniel Batcho, fr., 6-11, Arizona; Adonis Arms, r-sr., Winthrop.
Going out: Avery Benson, Texas; Nimari Burnett, Alabama; Jamarius Burton, Pittsburgh; Vladislav Goldin; Kyler Edwards, Houston; Joel Ntabwe, Florida Atlantic; Micah Peavy, TCU; Tyreek Smith, Oklahoma State.
Net: When players started bolting after Chris Beard’s exodus to Texas, you felt sorry for the Red Raiders. But new coach Mark Adams made a quick recovery. Williams averaged 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds last season at UTEP. Warren averaged 21.2 points a game at Hampton. Wilson averaged 12.9 points a game at ULL. Arms averaged 10.5 points a game at Winthrop. The Red Raiders will be fine.
Coming in: Tanner Groves, r-jr., 6-9, Eastern Washington; Jacob Groves, so., 6-7, Eastern Washington; Jordan Goldwire, sr., 6-2, Duke; Ethan Chargois, 6-9, sr., Southern Methodist; Marvin Johnson, 6-6, sr., Eastern Illinois.
Going out: De’Vion Harmon, Oregon; Brady Manek, North Carolina; Victor Iwuakor, Nevada-Las Vegas; Alondes Williams, Wake Forest; Kur Kuath, Marquette; Trey Phipps, Oral Roberts; Josh O’Garro, San Jose State; Anyang Garang, Maryland-Baltimore County; Rick Issanza.
Net: Interesting makeover. Probably a net loss of talent. Harmon and Manek were prime-time players, Williams and Kuath had their moments, and Phipps and Iwuakor were promising young players. But new coach Porter Moser brought in the Groves brothers, the darlings of the NCAA Tournament, plus a Duke point guard in Goldwire. Chargois should play a ton on the inside, and Johnson brings much-needed athletic ability.
Coming in: Damion Baugh, 6-3, so., Memphis; Micah Peavy, 6-7, fr., Texas Tech; Maxwell Evans, 6-2, sr., Vanderbilt; Cashius McNeilly, 6-4, so., Texas A&M; Emanuel Miller, 6-7, so., Texas A&M; Xavier Cork, 6-9, so., Western Carolina; Shahada Wells, 6-0, jr., Texas-Arlington.
Going out: Jaedon LeDee, San Diego State; Kevin Samuell Jr.; Taryn Todd, New Mexico; Diante Smith, South Alabama; Terren Frank, Vanderbilt; Dylan Arnette, Western New Mexico; Kevin Easley Jr., Duquesne; Mickey Pearson Jr., Ball State.
Net: Another extreme makeover. And Jamie Dixon clearly brought in some talent. Miller averaged 16.2 points at A&M. Wells averaged 16.8 points at UTA. Cork averaged 12.7 at Western Carolina. Evans averaged 8.5 at Vanderbilt. Baugh at Memphis and Peavy at Tech each played about 20 minutes per game.
Coming in: Cam Martin, 6-9, sr., Missouri Southern; Remy Martin, 6-3, sr., Arizona State; Joseph Yesufu, 6-0, so, Drake; Jalen Coleman-Lands, 6-4, r-sr., Iowa State.
Going out: Tristan Enaruna, Iowa State; Silvia de Sousa; Littrell Jossell, Stephen F. Austin; Tyon Grant-Foster, DePaul; Gethro Muscadin, New Mexico; Bryce Thompson, Oklahoma State.
Net: Big plus. Bill Self brought in four players who were double-digit scorers last season. Remy Martin is an all-Pac-12 guard. Coleman-Lands averaged 14.3 points a game at Iowa State. Yesufu averaged 12.8 points at Drake. Cam Martin, from Yukon, is the all-time leading scorer at Division II Missouri Southern. Big infusion of talent.
Coming in: Dylan Disu, 6-9, so., Vanderbilt; Timmy Allen, 6-6, jr., Utah; Devin Askew, 6-3, fr., Kentucky; Christian Bishop, 6-7, jr., Creighton; Avery Benson, 6-4, r-jr., Texas Tech.
Going out: Royce Hamm Jr., Nevada-Las Vegas; Kameka Hepa, Hawaii; Gerald Liddell, Alabama State; Will Baker, Nevada; Donovan Williams, Nevada-Las Vegas.
Net: Another big bonanza. New coach Chris Beard brought in three double-digit scorers – Disu averaged 15.0 points last season at Vanderbilt, Allen averaged 15.6 points over three years at Utah and Bishop averaged 11.0 at Creighton. Askew was a big-time recruit at Kentucky who averaged 28.9 minutes last season. And Benson was a Beard favorite at Texas Tech, where Benson was a defensive specialist. All without a mass exodus.
6. Iowa State
Coming in: Izaiah Brockington, 6-4, r-jr., Penn State; Tristan Enaruna, 6-8, so., Kansas; Caleb Grill, 6-3, so, Nevada-Las Vegas; Robert Jones, 6-10, so., Denver; Gabe Kalscheur, 6-4, jr., Minnesota; Aljaz Kunc, 6-8, jr., Washington State.
Going out: Rasir Bolton, Gonzaga; Jalen Coleman-Lands, Kansas; Tyler Harris, Memphis; Dudley Blackwell; Nate Schuster; Nate Jenkins, Wisconsin-Green Bay; Darlinstone Dubar, Hofstra.
Net: Big loss. New coach T.J. Otzelberger brought in some players – Brockington averaged 12.6 points at Penn State, Kalschuer averaged 10.4 at Minnesota, Grill averaged 9.1 at UNLV and Jones averaged 9.1 at Denver. Also, Kunc played a lot at Washington State. But Bolton is a star, and Coleman-Lands was a scorer. When Gonzaga and Kansas get your players, you know you’ve lost some talent.
7. Kansas State
Coming in: Markquis Nowell, 5-7, jr., Arkansas-Little Rock; Ismael Massoud, 6-8, so., Wake Forest; Mark Smith, 6-5, sr., Missouri.
Going out: Antonio Gordon, Southeastern Louisiana; Rudi Williams, Coastal Carolina; DaJuan Gordon, Missouri; Joe Petrakis.
Net: Bruce Weber brought in three good players. Nowell averaged 14.3 points at UALR, Smith averaged 10.3 for Missouri (and scored 11 vs. OU in the NCAA Tournament), and Massoud averaged 8.3 for Wake.
8. West Virginia
Coming in: Dimon Carrigan, 6-9, sr., Florida International; Pauly Paulicap, 6-8, r-sr., DePaul; Malik Curry, 6-1, sr., Old Dominion.
Going out: Emmitt Matthews Jr., Washington; Jordan McCabe, Nevada-Las Vegas.
Net: Positive, although the likely loss of Miles McBride to the NBA Draft and the for-sure loss of Derek Culver to the pros will hurt more. Curry averaged 14.3 points a game at ODU, and Carrigan and Paulicap were key contributors. But all three incoming transfers are seniors, meaning Bob Huggins will face another major rebuilding job.
9. Oklahoma State
Coming in: Woody Newton, 6-8, fr., Syracuse; Tyreek Smith, 6-7, r-fr., Texas Tech; Bryce Thompson, 6-5, fr., Kansas.
More:Oklahoma State basketball: Bryce Williams will return to Cowboys for extra season
Going out: Ferron Flavors Jr., Robert Morris.
More:‘No story is going to be perfect’: How KU transfer Bryce Thompson feels at home with OSU
Net: Big plus. The Cowboys retain most of their roster from the NCAA Tournament team, Cade Cunningham being the notable exception. Thompson was one of the nation’s top recruits a year ago, and while neither Smith nor Newton were big-impact players, Smith is an athletic big man and Newton is a perimeter shooter, and both were at high-achieving programs.
Coming in: James Akinjo, 6-4, jr., Arizona; Dale Bonner, 6-3, r-so., Fairmont State.
Going out: Tristan Clark, SMU.
Net: When you win the NCAA championship with three NBA-bound guards like Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague, the transfer portal is not quite as big of news. But Scott Drew has been collecting talent. Akinjo will help a ton – he averaged 15.6 points at Arizona – and Bonner averaged 21.2 at Division II Fairmont State.
Mid-majors missing in College World Series
James Madison and star pitcher Odicci Alexander made a stirring run to the Women’s College World Series semifinals. They were the hit of the NCAA softball championships, which concluded last week with a Sooner national title.
Now it’s baseball’s turn for center stage, and there are no James Madisons in the bracket. Texas, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Stanford, Arizona, North Carolina State and Virginia comprise the field.
The last hope for a mid-major Cinderella was Dallas Baptist, which lost to Virginia on Monday in Game 3 of their Super Regional series.
More:Morning roundup: OU’s run to NCAA softball title caps most-watched WCWS ever
The James Madison/Dallas Baptist fates got me to thinking. Which sport has the more parity, particularly for teams outside the bright lights of the Power 5 conferences, which use football money to generate top-flight facilities and recruiting budgets?
And the answer clearly is baseball.
In the last 10 years, championships from 2011-21 (there were no 2020 tournaments), the College World Series in Omaha has welcomed seven mid-majors. Cal State-Fullerton in 2017 and 2015, Coastal Carolina in 2016, Cal-Santa Barbara in 2016, Cal-Irvine in 2014, Kent State in 2012 and Stony Brook in 2012.
Coastal Carolina even won the championship in 2016.
There has been no such success in the Women’s College World Series. The only mid-majors the last 10 years were James Madison, Louisiana-Lafayette in 2014 and South Florida in 2012. ULL and USF did not win a game in Oklahoma City.
And access to the WCWS is getting worse, not better, for mid-majors. In the 10 seasons from 2001-10, five mid-majors made the Series – Louisiana-Lafayette in 2003 and 2008, DePaul 2005 and 2007, and Hawaii in 2010.
In the 10 seasons before that, 28 mid-majors made the WCWS, and Fresno State won the championship in 1998. That’s 28 out of 80 slots, 35 percent.
We know what happened. Around the turn of the century, schools in the South, particularly the Southeastern Conference but also the Atlantic Coast Conference, began adding softball and/or investing heavily in it. Now the SEC is a softball powerhouse.
Additionally, the softball selection committee began seeding teams less on geography, so there were fewer Northeast representatives with a fighting chance. Massachusetts made the WCWS in 1992, 1997 and 1998. Princeton made it in 1995 and 1996. Connecticut in 1993.
Baseball similarly has joined the arms race, but the mid-major baseball conferences have hung in better. Heck, four of the last 17 CWS champions have come outside the power conferences – Coastal Carolina in 2016, Fresno State in 2008, Cal State-Fullerton in 2004 and Rice in 2003.
Still, it’s getting more and more difficult for the little guy to compete in NCAA baseball. And it’s even worse for the little gal in NCAA softball.
Mailbag: 1949 Sooners
In my recent ranking of the best OU football teams not to win a national championship, I didn’t put the 1949 Sooners high. My reasoning: segregation days. Some took exception.
Don: “Whoa, there, Brother Berry! Oklahoma’s 1949 football team should not be ranked as high among the nation’s top 50 non-champions? Because they did not have Blacks on their teams? Since when do lists such as this require a racial quota? I recall several Michigan State teams with multiple Black players during the segregation era. Duffy Daugherty’s teams were good but were not great. Ohio State also had some great Black players when OU was the dominant team of the 1950.
“Matter of fact, there really weren’t as many great Black players to recruit as one would think, even should there have been no segregation. HBCU teams improved as college attendance among Blacks improved. Grambling was an outlier for years among Black football programs. Even the great Prentice Gautt couldn’t start at OU until his junior season in 1958. Even though Prentice had one of the greatest runs I ever saw on Owen Field, he was not the dominant running back as had been Tommy McDonald, Leon Heath; and especially Clendon Thomas.
“How about some of Notre Dame’s great teams? Not many Blacks. Why? They couldn’t meet the stringent academic standards. The dirty secret in NCAA football, is that more Black players had a chance to excel when academic standards were relaxed almost everywhere.
“So what about eligibility? A primary reason that the 1949 OU team (and many other teams of their era) were good, was that they were older. It wasn’t unusual to see 23-, 24- and 25-year-olds on the field (and I believe Darrell Royal and maybe Stan West were 26). Teams of the modern era have had the advantage of the redshirt, or fifth year of eligibility, an advantage not available until the 1960s (and the medical redshirt still counted against the athlete even then). So should we say that say, an average Barry Switzer club of the early 1980s was better than the 1955 or 1956 Sooners?
“Do we look at age and race as a measure of greatness among today’s teams? For instance, some observers would no doubt rank Bob Fenimore much lower among the running backs at OSU, yet there he is, at the top of those lists.
“To me, you leave the social elements of any era out of the equation and measure them against the competition they faced at the time. Goodness gracious; the 1949 Sooners were the measure of greatness for many years at Oklahoma.”
Tramel: It’s a fascinating debate. But to answer the initial question, lists such as these require a racial quota when we remember that football in 1949 in much of America, including in Oklahoma, required a racial quote. The maximum number of African-American players allowed was zero.
As far as academic standards, we had segregated and inferior public schools for minorities, then we used certain academic requirements to keep them out of universities. I don’t see how that improves the case for the 1949 Sooners.
And yes, some schools in 1949 were integrated. But OU didn’t play many of them. OU’s biggest rivals, Texas and Oklahoma A&M, had no African-American players. And OU’s bowl games usually were against southern schools – let’s see, North Carolina State 1947, North Carolina 1948, LSU 1949, Kentucky 1950, Maryland 1953, Maryland 1955, Duke 1957. That gets us to Gautt’s barrier-breaking year of ‘57.
For many years, we just shrugged on things like baseball history and college football history and didn’t consider race.
But we did consider the war.
Awards and honors and successes in baseball during World War II largely have been pushed aside, because we know it was an inferior product. Some of the best players were gone.
Same with college football.
So why not consider race, too? Some of the best players were gone for decades.
I feel bad disrespecting the ‘49 Sooners. One of my all-time favorite teams. They were dominant. I got to know several of those guys, Royal included. Interviewed several of those players. Their story of beating the Germans and the Japanese, then beating Texas and Nebraska, is pretty cool.
But does anyone want to include Bennie Owen’s 1915 Sooners on such lists? They were 10-0 and quite dominant. We don’t count those dusty days of history because we don’t know that much about the quality of the play and the quality of the competition. The players were migratory; the game was not sophisticated.
Thirty-four years later, we knew a lot about the game. Football had become more sophisticated. But it had not become inclusive.
1949 college football and much of the decade to come, at least in this part of the country, was like pre-1947 baseball. Some of the best players not only didn’t play, they weren’t allowed to play.
I don’t know how that makes the ‘49 Sooners high on this list. They certainly were dominant against their competition. But their competition was inferior.
NBA might examine cheap fouls
Trae Young held the ball on the perimeter Monday night, guarded by Joel Embiid. The 76er giant wisely stayed a healthy distance back from Young, whose quickness would turn Embiid sideways and crossways in any one-on-one matchup.
Embiid’s defensive strategy made Young think, even if only for a split-second. Young went through the hundreds of options, his experience of three NBA seasons, and made the best decision.
He pump-faked. When you’re a 6-foot guard who can swish from third-and-long territory, defenders are powerless not to respond. You pump-fake, they jump. So Embiid jumped. Not straight up, since he was so healthily removed from Young, but at an angle.
Embiid landed well in front of Young. But Young already had set the trap. As Embiid landed, Young jumped into Embiid and feigned a shot. The ball was going nowhere, because when Young’s arms hit Embiid’s body, Embiid’s body wins every time. But Young had no interest in launching the ball toward the basket. Young sought only one thing.
The sweet sound of a referee’s whistle. And sure enough, here it came. Foul on Embiid. Foul shots for Young. A shooting foul, on a play in which Young did not shoot and had no intention of shooting.
Not to pick on Young, who is one of my favorites, a graduate of Norman North (about a mile from my house) and the son of Rayford Young (one of my favorite Big Eight/Big 12 players ever, as a speedy Texas Tech point guard).
But Trae learned his tricks well. The NBA stratosphere is full of crafty players who draw whistles for fouls that were created via faux shots.
Chris Paul. James Harden. Luka Doncic. A host of other stars, or even journeymen, have perfected the art of getting fouled at the most advantageous time.
We know it’s bogus when we see it. But we don’t know what to do about it.
But the NBA might be trying to find out. ESPN reported that the league’s competition committee met Monday to explore the trend of “unnatural shooting motions” drawing fouls.
I love the terminology. “Unnatural.” That’s exactly what the offensive players are doing. They initiate contact and are rewarded.
In truth, I don’t see why these plays are fouls. Fouling is about advantage. If a player does not reap an advantage from contact, why should there be a foul?
And when Trae Young jumps into Joel Embiid, not because Young wants to shoot, but because Young wants to collide with Embiid, where’s the advantage? Why the foul?
ESPN reported that the NBA has compiled a video that shows a variety of motions deemed squishy. The competition committee will present the video to NBA general managers, seeking a proposal on which the owners can vote.
The slide to more offense usually is a good thing, but not in this case. Foul shots are the least exciting thing in basketball. All this wonderful movement, by players and ball, all this conflict, offense vs. defense, comes to a stop when suddenly a whistle blows and a solitary player stands at the foul line.
Foul shots are boring.
But also, points via the foul line are not very satisfying, even on a valid foul. Like a field goal kicked after a pass-interference penalty. There’s not much of a sense of earning the points. Fouls in basketball and penalties in football are necessary, but anything we can do to lessen their impact, we should.
The NBA competition committee is made up of a group of owners, GMs, coaches, players and referees. Among the members are Celtics general manager Brad Stevens, Raptors president Masai Ujiri and Spurs chief executive officer R.C. Buford. ESPN reported that the competition committee hopes the changes can be passed before the NBA Summer League in August so that referees can start acclimating.
Here is a hearty vote for passage.
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GOOD EATS: Gabriella’s
Does anyone else miss the old County Line barbeque? Sitting on Persimmon Hill, near the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, in a cool venue with great views and cubby holes for tables, the County Line was an Oklahoma institution.
Then it closed about a decade ago.
Bummer. But in its place is Gabriella’s, with its own lush history, serving Italian food in the same fabulous setting.
Chef/owner Vicki Muhs descends from the hallowed food grounds of Krebs in southeastern Oklahoma, where a quartet of Italian restaurants made the hamlet just east of McAlester a destination for Oklahomans of many generations. Pete’s Place, Isle of Capri, Giacomo’s and Roseanna’s were known state wide and beyond. Giacomo’s now is closed. But the Krebs legacy lives on at Gabriella’s.
More:Tramel’s ScissorTales: OSU & Texas still wouldn’t have made 12-team playoff in last 7 years
The Giacomo family migrated to southeastern Oklahoma in 1895 to work in the booming coal business. Our Food Dude, Dave Cathey, has written about Krebs’ Italian legacy.
Muhs is the great niece of Dominic Giacomo, who opened “Isle of Capri” in 1953. Muhs, who grew up working in “Isle of Capri,” opened a “Gabriella’s” in South Padre Island in 2003. She and her husband came to Oklahoma City several years later and took over the County Line building, which was built in 1935 and by 1939 was the Kentucky Club, a den of inequity, with gambling, dancing and drinking. The Kentucky Club was rebuilt after a 1949 fire and rebranded as the Ramada Club.
Eventually, County Line moved in, the building having survived police raids, the fire and decay.
Muhs’ husband, a contractor, restored the building and Gabriella’s opened in 2012, with all the old charm of its history and all the Italian history up from Krebs.
Five-layer lasagna is the specialty of the house, but Gabriella’s also offers family-style dinners in the vein of Krebs. It’s a fun place to dine, for its historic status not just in OKC, but 132 miles to the southeast.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.