Predicting OSU basketball's Starting Five

I was asked during Wednesday night's chat what I thought Oklahoma State's starting lineup would look like for the upcoming hoops season. I thought I would take this opportunity to break it down a little further. Also, let it known that I think Markel Brown will end up in the starting five.

Point Guard

Starter: Reger Dowell — 6'1, 180 junior

There might not have been a player on the Cowboys' roster that made as big a splash down the stretch as Dowell. The junior point guard took command of the starting job in the 28th games of the season, averaging 10.9 point per game in the Cowboys' final nine games. Dowell is a natural fit for Ford's up-tempo style and he's an intelligent floor general. Obviously, the assist total for the team needs to improve as the Pokes ranked 331st nationally last season, but Dowell has a great grasp of the offense and had a phenomenal offseason.

Reserves: Fred Gulley — 6'2, 185 RS sophomore, Cezar Guerrero — 6'0, 175 freshman

Gulley is an established member of this Cowboy team and he started 14 of the 15 games in his freshman season in 2009-10 but missed all of last season with an injury. Gulley has had a strong return to form and his 3-point shooting has improved drastically. He should have a key role on this team. As for Guerrero, the flashy freshman from California might already be the best ball handler on the team. It is yet to be known how he will fit into an already deep Cowboy rotation but he has all the tools to make his presence felt. In addition to his rare talent as a ball handler, Guerrero won the inaugural 3-point competition at the National High School Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships in Houston.

Shooting Guard

Starter: Keiton Page — 5'9, 165 senior

Page is the lone player coach Travis Ford guarantees will be a starter heading into the 2011-12 season and has already been named team captain. Page is OSU's returning scoring (13.2) and assists (1.7) leader, in addition to being the most experienced player on the squad. Page has a chance to flourish in his final season because of the plethora of scorers on the team this season. It should open up a lot more natural scoring opportunities instead of Page being forced into creating his own shot. His percentages and numbers across the board should be the best of his career.

Reserves: Markel Brown — 6'3, 190 sophomore, Brian Williams — 6'5, 205 RS freshman

This Louisiana duo is incredibly athletic and either could be argued for starting roles if not for Page. Brown especially. In fact, Brown will be a starter if Ford goes with a smaller, more guard-heavy lineup. Brown had flashes of brilliance as a freshman last season and is arguably OSU's most athletically gifted player. The sky really is the limit for Brown because of his skill set and work ethic. Expect to see a lot of him this season, he can be a game changer. As for Williams, he could factor into a reserve role at SG or SF and is a versatile threat. He was an all-state player in high school and a consensus three-star recruit despite missing a good chunk of his senior season with an injury. Players have had exclusively positive things to say about Williams during the offseason and he will find a way to make an impact.

Small Forward

Starter: Le'Bryan Nash — 6'7, 230 freshman

Nash is arguably the top incoming player in the Big 12 if not the country this season. Nash was a McDonald's All-American, McDonalds Slam Dunk Champion, a second-team Parade All-American and was rated the No. 2 small forward by both Scout and Rivals. He has a unique skill set for his frame, as he is an adept passer and ball handler. He is also a natural scorer and vocal leader. He could be the key to Oklahoma State's team this winter.

Reserves: Jean-Paul Olukemi — 6'6, 215 junior

There might not be a better 1-2 punch at this position in the country than OSU's tandem of Nash and Olukemi. The junior was dominant at times for the Cowboys last season and finished as the team's No. 3 scorer with 11.1 point per game despite doing decidedly more damage at home than on the road. He has great size and is an athletic specimen, he should flourish as a full-time backup and will be a major force against other team's second units.

Power Forward

Starter: Michael Cobbins — 6'8, 240 RS freshman

For as much of an impact as Nash will bring in on the wing, Cobbins can bring that on the inside. Coaches are extremely high on Cobbins, who has a tireless work ethic and plays harder than anyone else on the floor. He excels as a shot blocker and has become a consistent force in rebounding since putting on nearly 40 pounds of muscle over the past year. His versatility, nice jump shot and speed will help the Cowboys to be able to maintain an up-tempo style for 40 minutes.

Reserves: Marek Soucek — 7'0, 235 freshman

A surprise addition to this year's team, the Czech Republic native brings international flavor to the squad. He is an established outside shooter and his size and range could pose major matchup problems for opposing defenses. That said, he is new to American basketball and expectations should be limited as he develops. He has a very bright future and Ford said he will receive minutes this season.


Starter: Phillip Jurick — 6'11, 270 junior

Jurick has had a huge impact in the gym since he arrived in Stillwater and he could be one of the best shot blockers to play at OSU in years. Jurick isn't an offensive force but he more than makes up for it on defense and on the glass. The transfer was a JUCO All-American and averaged 10.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 9.5 blocks a game for Chattanooga State. His 9.5 blocks led the nation.

Reserves: Soucek

Final thoughts

Because of a lack of depth on the inside, it is highly likely that Ford rolls out a guard-heavy lineup pretty frequently. The Cowboys have exceptional depth and versatility at the small forward and guard spots that could result in a Dowell, Page, Brown, Nash and Cobbins lineup. I went the more traditional route in my breakdown but OSU could show any number of looks this season. Having too many good players is always a nice problem to have.

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