Tulsa Hoops Coming Off Best Year; Expect Another Big Season
Oct. 12, 2000
Not many teams in America can boast of what Tulsa accomplished a year ago -- a school-best 32-5 record, a conference regular season championship and an appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Tulsa finished the season raked ninth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and 18th in the final Associated Press poll. Tulsa defeated UNLV, Cincinnati and Miami (Fla.) in the NCAA Tournament, before falling to North Carolina by four points in the South Regional Finals.
The 1999-2000 season was not a breakthrough year for the Hurricane. Tulsa has been among the most elite teams in the nation for the past seven seasons -- making six NCAA Tournament appearances and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen three times.
Although losing three starters from last year's squad, this year's Hurricane squad can continue their string of NCAA Tournament runs. With new coach Buzz Peterson aboard from Appalachian State, where he led his team to three straight 20-win seasons and an NCAA Tournament appearance a year ago, the Tulsa train is expected to move forward without many hitches.
Although coming off the bench in 35 of Tulsa's 37 games a year ago, Shelton was the leading scorer for the Hurricane. He tallied 13.5 points per game and was named to the Western Athletic Conference's all-newcomer team and was a second-team all-WAC selection as well. Shelton posted 29 double-figure scoring games and scored over 20 points on seven occasions.
Hill and Harrington were fourth and fifth in scoring on Tulsa's balanced roster last year as five players scored in double-figures. Hill has been a double-digit scorer for the last two seasons, averaging 11.2 points and adding 4.2 rebounds a year ago. Harrington, who was named the MVP of the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic after wins over Boston College, UNC-Charlotte and 11th-ranked Tennessee, averaged 10.8 points for the Hurricane and shot 49-percent from the field and 42-percent from three point range.
Once again, the Hurricane team will look for balance throughout the lineup. Last year, Tulsa was among the nation's best in steals, field goal percentage and field goal percentage defense.
Tulsa's backcourt will get a boost from a pair of lightening quick 5'10" guards with sophomores Dante Swanson and Antonio Reed returning for their second seasons. Swanson was an integral ingredient to last year's success as he averaged 5.5 points in 14.5 minutes per game, and seemed to have knack for making big plays when needed most. He also tallied 42 steals on the season.
Although playing just 6.1 minutes per game, Reed demonstrated his ability to be a playmaker for the Hurricane while totalling 23 assists and 24 steals.
Newcomer Jason Parker (6'2') brings solid prep credentials to the Hurricane backcourt from Tulsa's Memorial High School, where he earned all-state honors while averaging 24.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
In the frontcourt the Hurricane may be a little on the small size, but is extremely athletic. Sophomores Kevin Johnson and Charlie Davis, both 6'7" forwards have shown flashes of brilliance in the past. Johnson is perhaps the most athletic player on the squad, while Davis proved he can play with the best when he totalled 11 points and 7 rebounds in a reserve role against Tennessee early in the season.
Davis averaged 2.5 points per game, while Johnson pitched in at a scoring clip of 2.4 points per game. Another sophomore, transfer Marqus Ledoux (6'8"), makes his Hurricane debut this year after sitting out last season following his transfer from LSU. He was an all-state player in Louisiana as a high school senior, but played in just 16 games as a true freshman at LSU.
A big key to Tulsa's success this season will be the play of 6'9" DeAngelo McDaniel and a pair of 6'10" newcomers, J.T. Ivie and Jack Ingram, in the post position. McDaniel has been a solid defensive stopper for the Hurricane in the past, and this year will be expected to be a force offensively as well.
In limited action last season, McDaniel blocked 21 shots and grabbed 1.5 rebounds per game. Ingram is a solid perimeter player who tallied 22.5 points and 11.0 rebounds at Marshall High School in San Antonio, Texas last season, while Ivie will provide a big body in the paint for the Hurricane. He averaged 11.7 points and 8.2 rebounds at Haberhsam Central High School in Georgia a year ago.
It will take some time for the Hurricane to jell with new coach Buzz Peterson, but by the time the league season approaches the Tulsa train should be rolling to yet another postseason appearance.
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