Hoops: Finishing Up 2008; The 2009 Targets

The November signing period is quickly approaching and who are the Oklahoma State basketball team's top targets? Is there a big man that Sean Sutton and his staff have been secretly recruiting in hopes of signing? Here is an overview of what the Cowboy coaching staff hopes to see happen in the next few weeks, wrapping up the Class of 2008, and who they are looking at in the Class of 2009.

Sean Sutton and the Cowboys have three scholarships to give in November. Point guard Keiton Page, of Pawnee, Okla., has been committed to the Cowboys for more than a year, and will sign during the early signing period (Nov. 14-21). The Cowboys also would like to find a second point guard. Remember, Byron Eaton is the only true point guard on the team now, and he will be gone following the 2008-09 season. So, it's imperative that Sutton sign a couple point guards the next few years.

Sutton has his eyes on a pair of talented point guards in 6-2, 175-pound J'Covan Brown, out of Port Arthur (Memorial), Texas. Brown, who is recovering from a broken foot suffered early in the summer, made a trip to OSU the first weekend of September. He has said he will decide between OSU, Texas and Baylor. The Cowboys are also making a late push in the race for Rotnei Clarke, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior at Verdigris (Okla.) High School. Clarke, who will likely set the Oklahoma high school scoring record as a senior, is also being recruited by Gonzaga, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Oral Roberts (where his dad was hired by Scott Sutton to join the Eagles staff).

The other pressing matter, especially following the departure of Kenny Cooper last month, is finding a big-time center. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, and every other team out there looking for talented post players, the pickings are between slim and none – even in the junior college ranks. Sutton will not take a big man just to take one, especially if he doesn't think he can contribute in the near future.

The bad news for the Cowboys is that this is considered a relatively weak class. The good news is they only have two more scholarships to give, and they are in on two of the best point guards remaining on the board. If Sutton can get one of those two, then he will be happy. It also means that the Cowboys will have four or five scholarships to give the following season, and the Class of 2009 is considered a much better group of players.

The Oklahoma State coaching staff has already begun working on their top targets for 2009 (this year's high school juniors). The Cowboys have in the past been playing catch up on the group of high school juniors but this year they appear to be ahead of the curve, and are attracting attention from some of the nation's best players in an outstandng field of talent.

The Cowboys are in on some of the best high school juniors at their positions:
** John Wall is ranked as the 12th best overall prospect and second best point guard.
** Daniel Orton is ranked as the 14th best overall prospect and third best center.
** Nolan Dennis is ranked as the 23rd best overall prospect and sixth best shooting guard.
** John Henson is ranked as the 24th best overall prospect and sixth best power forward.
** Shawn Williams is ranked as the 43rd best overall prospect and sixth best small forward.

Here are some of the players (listed alphabetically) that the Cowboys are pursuing in the Class of 2009:

Colin Borchert, F (6-9), Mountain Ridge High School, Glendale, Ariz.

Terrence Boyd, G (6-5), Norman (Okla.) High School

Joey Brooks, G (6-6), Strake Jesuit College Prep School, Houston, Texas

Nolan Dennis, G (6-5), Richland High School, North Richland, Texas

Roger Franklin, F (6-5), Duncanville (Texas) High School

John Henson, C (6-10), Round Rock (Texas) High School

Daniel Orton, C (6-11), Bishop McGuinness High School, Oklahoma City

John Wall, PG (6-3), Word of God Christian Academy, Raleigh, N.C.

Erik Williams, F (6-7), Cy Springs (Texas) High School

Shawn Williams, F (6-6), Duncanville (Texas) High School

The OSU coaching staff made trips to visit with each of these players in the last few weeks, and GoPokes.com will have stories on many of these players in the coming days.

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