Curry's Cowboys Tip Off Tuesday Night

The torch was passed to JamesOn Curry last March when the three-pointer by John Lucas bounced off the rim in the Sweet 16 loss to Arizona. The OSU Cowboys became Curry's team following that loss, and he took control throughout the summer and fall. But the official coronation as this being Curry's team takes place Tuesday night when the Cowboys host Oklahoma City in the first game (even though it is of the exhibition variety) of the 2005-06 season at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

"I'm ready," said Curry, the only Cowboy with any extensive Division I experience.

The 6-foot-3 shooting guard started 15 games for the Cowboys last season, averaging 9.7 points and 2.8 assists per game. But he was at his finest in the postseason, scoring in double figures in three Big 12 Conference tournament games and the Cowboys' three games in the NCAA tourney. By the end of the season it was not a stretch to say that Curry was playing the best basketball on the team.

"Our staff has a lot of confidence in JamesOn," said head coach designate Sean Sutton, who said that Curry has been asked to be a leader despite just being a sophomore. "We feel like he's mature enough that he can handle that role. Obviously, the players listen to him, respect him, look up to him. They know that not only is he a great player but he's a super person."

Oklahoma City, ranked 13th in the NAIA Division I preseason poll, is 2-0 after wins last week over Mid-America Christian (80-68) and Huston-Tillotson (89-58). Dawud Drew, a 6-foot-4 guard from Jersey City, N.J., leads the Stars with a 28.0 point average.

Curry is the one person who Cowboy fans are all but assured of seeing in the starting lineup against Oklahoma City University. Who the other four are anyone's guess, but we'll take a stab at it.

Point guard: Jamaal Brown or Byron Eaton? Brown, the 5-foot-10 junior college transfer, has impressed the Cowboy coaching staff with his play during preseason practices. His defense has been a pleasant surprise and he has been the better outside shooter of the two point guards during the preseason. Eaton, however, was impressive in the Orange-Black scrimmage, finishing with 17 points (on 8-of-12 shooting), 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in 39 minutes of play. Who starts vs. OCU? Brown because of his consistent play in practice the past several weeks.

Shooting guard: JamesOn Curry or Terrel Harris? Harris, a 6-foot-5 freshman, has been impressive since setting foot on campus back in the summer. The Cowboy coaching staff says he has been proven that he is too good to redshirt this season. He is probably the best defender of the five freshmen. Curry, as stated above, is the leader of this team. He did not look like the Curry from last March in the scrimmage, but he's playing the role of leader trying to get everyone involved. When the lights are on and the games start to count (and that's not until next Friday, Nov. 18, when the regular season begins against Texas-Arlington) Curry will be there. Who starts vs. OCU? Curry

Small forward: Keith Brumbaugh, Marcus Dove, Roderick Flemings or Torre Johnson? Brumbaugh (6-8, 215) and Flemings (6-7, 215) are two of the most athletic players on the team. But they are freshmen who are still trying to figure out what's expected. Dove (6-9, 215) played sparingly a year ago but does a little bit of everything while on the floor (i.e. 9 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks and 1 steal in the Orange-Black scrimmage). Johnson (6-6, 215) earned first-team junior college All-American honors a year ago, and is one of the best athletes on the team ("He may be at Desmond Mason's level in terms of being an athlete," Sean Sutton said.). He has worked hard to improve his shooting, especially the mid-range jumper, in preseason drills. Who starts vs. OCU? Dove.

Power forward: Mario Boggan, Torre Johnson or David Monds? This will probably be the 6-foot-7, 235-pound Boggan's spot once he gets healthy. But the Chipola College transfer isn't full speed yet after foot surgery late in the summer. He just began practice, and it will take him a few weeks to get in playing condition. Monds (6-8, 240) had the type of Orange-Black scrimmage that Eddie Sutton has been hoping for from the Macon, Ga., standout since he arrived on campus three years ago. Monds was kicked out of practice by Sutton the week of the scrimmage but played like the next coming of Shaquille O'Neal with 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Orange squad. Who starts vs. OCU? Monds.

Post: Kenny Cooper, David Monds or Aaron Pettway? The Cowboy coaching staff has been impressed with the play of Pettway, and hopes that he will cut down on his turnovers on the offensive end of the court. The Cowboy coaches want the 6-foot-10, 240-pound senior to play good defense, block some shots and rebound ... anything he gives the team on the offensive end of the court will be a bonus. Monds can play here, and will if he continues to put up numbers like he did in the scrimmage. The 6-foot-10, 260-pound Cooper (a 17-year-old freshman who doesn't turn 18 until December) is a star in the making. Cooper's work ethic and enthusiasm impress the coaching staff but he's young and still learning. Who starts vs. OCU? Pettway.

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