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Oklahoma State Basketball Season Outlook Part 1 - Meet the New Guys

The first BCS rankings are out, and the Cowboys are headed for a huge home game this weekend, so let's talk some basketball.

I am going to be doing a 3-part series over the next few weeks on the 2010-2011 Cowboys basketball team.  I will be taking a look at the new talent, how this talent will mix with the old guard, and finally how this may shake out for the season.  Here is the schedule:

Part 1 | Meet the New Guys
Part 2 | Analyzing The Rotation and Gameplan
Part 3 | Season Preview

So let's meet these new guys that will be trying to fill the holes left by the departure of James Anderson and The Fashion Show.

Jean Paul Olukemi (6'5, 215, SF/G, So)
OK.... So he actually goes by J.P., but the full name makes him sound like the villain in the new Die Hard movie, "Kill Everything, Die Hard, Full Throttle, Code Red".  Olukemi comes to Stillwater from Vincennes C.C. in Indiana.  He transferred in last season spending the spring practicing with the Cowboys.  Olukemi will be a sophomore this season.

Almost everything I read about Olukemi's style of play uses the word "attacking". He prefers to play on the wing and utilize his quick first step to drive hard to the basket where he is known to finish with authority.  He also has a great passing ability and can hit the pull up 15 footer should his drive to the basket be cut off.  He is also known as a solid on the ball defender whose nice size and speed combination will allow him to match up with about anyone. At Vincennes he averaged 14.9 ppg, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and shot 52% from the floor.  After his freshman season Olukemi was ranked anywhere from top 15 to the #1 juco recruit by all the various ranking sites out there.

Sounds almost perfect doesn't he?  Well he is close, and he is a good fit for this system.  Travis Ford loves to utilize size in the open floor, and that is really where Olukemi shines... and his attacking, driving style will open the floor for the interior guys and the outside shooters... and on top of that he can play defense. That isn't to say JP is flawless.. he does need to work on his outside shooting as Olukemi only shot 15-49 (30.6%) from three, and his aggressive style can lead to foul issues.  But overall, Olukemi looks to be a good candidate to see a lot of playing time early in the season on the wing.

Brian Williams (6'5, 205, G, Fr)
Williams enters Stillwater as the reigning 4A POY in Louisiana, and was regarded as a 3-star recruit by Scout and Rivals (though many in Louisiana think he deserves another star). He comes to Stilly from Baton Rouge and also considered Baylor and Oregon State.

Williams has an excellent mid range game and being 6'5 and a natural 2-guard who loves to run the floor and crash the boards, he will create plenty of matchup problems for opposing defenses.  Brian can spread the floor with his streaky outside shooting and loves to find the corners, and his athleticism (which is sick) will force defenders to hesitate to crowd him outside.  A lot of his scoring comes from follow ups and from the free throw line as he can get physical inside for a guard.

Coach Ford compares him to Obi. Here is the quote:

Brian’s game is a lot like Obi's. He's 6-4 to 6-5 and much more athletic. He can jump over the rim. He averaged 30 points a game last year in high school. He can step out and shoot it, he's very athletic and has a great in-between game.

Some decent video of Brian Williams here.

Mike Cobbins (6'8, 215, PF, Fr)
Mike got his own writeup a few weeks ago.  It is here.

Markel Brown (6'3, 190, G, Fr)
Another athletic wing (getting crowded on the wings huh?) from Louisiana, Brown comes in as the reigning Mr. Basketball in his home state. Brown was listed as a 4-star by Scout and a 3-star by Rivals and was also recruited by LSU, Marquette, Michigan, USC and Texas A&M.

Brown's athleticism is just sick. Rather than having me describe it, just watch this video of him from a slam dunk contest.

Outside of the freak athleticism, Brown is great in open spaces, he is a natural passer, and would best be described as a slasher. Also, in spite of his quiet demeanor, Brown is thought of as a natural leader, which this young Cowboys team will need.  His outside shooting is streaky, but he has nice shooting mechanics so that should improve after some time on campus.

Brown will be looked at to make an immediate impact as his skill set is D1 ready, and Oklahoma State lost most of their scoring to the NBA (and the fashion world). There will be growing pains, but his athleticism, shooting touch, and calm demeanor will pay huge dividends as he sees action as a freshman.