New Look Cowboys Tip Off Friday Night

Oklahoma State basketball fans get their chance to see the seven newcomers to this year's squad for the first time Friday night. The Cowboys open the 2007-08 season with their first exhibition game, playing host to Panhandle State, an NCAA Division II school from Goodwell, Okla. Tip off for the game is scheduled for about 8 p.m., following the completion of the OSU Cowgirls exhibition game.

The Cowboys will have plenty of new faces as two junior college transfers and five freshmen make their debuts wearing the orange and black Friday evening inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. Junior post player Anthony Brown of Carl Albert State College and sophomore guard Brad Garrett for the College of Southern Idaho both join the team after outstanding junior college seasons a year ago.

The five freshmen recruited by the OSU coaching staff are Martavius Adams of Irwinton, Ga., James Anderson of Junction City, Ark., Marshall Moses of Aiken, S.C., Nick Sidorakis of Jenks, Okla., and Ibrahima Thomas of Dakar, Senegal.

The two most impressive newcomers throughout the first three weeks of practice have been Anderson, a 6-6 wing player who will wear No. 23, and Ibrahima Thomas, a 6-11 post whose number will be 21.

Anderson is one of the most highly recruited players to ever wear the Cowboy uniform. He earned McDonald's All-American honors after averaging 38 points and 11 rebound in helping lead his Junction City High School team to a 32-3 record and the Arkansas Class 2A state championship as a senior.

He has more than lived up to the hype in preseason practices.

"Rarely does a guy live up to his billing and his hype when he comes out of high school, and I would say that he's done that and even surpassed it a little bit," Cowboy head coach Sean Sutton said. "James Anderson is a jewel. I think he has a chance to be special and be one of the best players to ever play here."

Will he have the same impact as JamesOn Curry did when he averaged 13.3 points in Big 12 Conference games as a freshman?

"I think he's even better than JamesOn Curry was when JamesOn was a freshman," Sutton said. "But what JamesOn had was four pros on that team. You put a guy out there that's a young guy that's got some talent like JamesOn had, and surround him with Joey Graham, Stevie Graham, John Lucas and Ivan McFarlin ... He was able to have a really good freshman year, and helped us win a lot of games.

"James doesn't have that luxury right now. He does have some good guards to play with, and I think that will help, but I think he will make a pretty big impact. I want to caution our fans not to expect him to go out and score 20 points every night. He's going to have some great games, and he'll have some off games. But I have all the confiden ce in the world in James, and he knows that. He knows that I think he's going to be big time."

Sutton and the Cowboy coaching staff is also excited about the progress of Thomas since practice started Oct. 12. He played last season at Stoneridge Preparatory School in Simi Valley, Calif., and selected OSU after being recruited by Auburn, USC, Valparaiso, Ball State, Rutgers and Fresno State.

"He's got a high, high ceiling. He's got a huge upside," Sutton said of the 6-11, 238-pound post player. "Ideally we felt like it would be best for him to redshirt a year and gain some weight, but over the summer he gained 18 pounds.

"Every practice the guy just keeps getting better. He's got unbelievable hands. He changes directions, and the the way he runs ... I'm not sure we've ever had a post player here who can run like he can. He can certainly shoot the basketball. He's a pretty good passer for a big guy. He's just got to get to where he's stronger, and tougher, and he will be a big-time player."

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