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A New Era Dawns for Tulsa Basketball

Tulsa began the Danny Manning era with its first full team practice Friday.
Tulsa began the Danny Manning era with its first full team practice Friday.
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Oct. 12, 2012

TULSA, Okla. - The Tulsa men's basketball team began preparations for the 2012-13 season, its first under new head coach Danny Manning, Friday morning with the first full team practice of the year.

"New era" does not simply refer to the new coaching staff on board at The University of Tulsa. That staff, led by Manning, brings a new attitude, new philosophy, and an almost entirely new team.

That new attitude and philosophy includes a new style of playing the game. New, in a way Golden Hurricane fans haven't seen in a few years.

"We want to be up tempo. Defensively, we want to be a stingy team," Manning said. "We want to make sure the opposition gets only one contested shot. We want to rebound the basketball. We want to get up and down the court. We want to try to score as many layups as possible. We want to push the ball up the court. We want to create tempo."

Manning says he wants to create tempo on defense by putting pressure on the ball and taking away shots the offense might typically take. He and his staff want to wear down its opponents on the offensive end by making them run for the whole game.

"Hopefully by the end, we're able to put ourselves in a position to win the game and out-execute teams," said Manning. "We definitely want to make sure that we get up and down the court. I think there are 70 possessions in a normal game. We want that number for us to be 80-85. We want to push the ball."

That style was evident in four exhibition games in Canada over the summer when the Hurricane averaged 91.5 points per game. TU also averaged 44.8 rebounds, 16.8 assists, 10.8 steals and 3.5 blocks per game during the tour.

Returning for Tulsa this season are senior Scottie Haralson, junior Tim Peete, sophomore Rashad Smith and redshirt freshman Brandon Swannegan.

 

 

Haralson has scored 172 three-pointers in two seasons at TU, while shooting 82 percent from the free throw line. Peete has averaged 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds in his first two years, including 5.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in nearly 27 minutes per game last season. Smith only averaged 0.8 points 0.7 rebounds in 4.9 minutes last year, but led TU with 16.3 points and added 5.5 rebounds on its Canadian tour.

Tulsa also welcomes seven newcomers, including five freshmen to the team this season. Senior transfer forward Kauri Black and junior college transfer guard Pat Swilling, Jr. are the newcomers with college experience. Freshmen forward D'Andre Wright of Lawton and guard James Woodard of Edmond, were ranked as the top two players in the state during their senior seasons. Guard Shaquille Harrison of Lee's Summit, Mo., forward Zeldric King of Dallas, guard Rashad Ray of New Orleans, round out the freshman class. Harrison and Ray were both late spring signees to TU.

The Golden Hurricane will rely heavily on the experience and leadership of older players in Haralson, Peete and Black.

"Scottie and Kauri have the most experience under their belts in college basketball, because they're seniors. We lean on them a lot to make sure that the pulse of the team is positive and that they have the right mindset to work," Manning said. "Tim Peete has been very good for us. He has been a guy that has been able to rally our guys, talk to guys, and talk about his experience. That's kind of Tim's personality. Those three guys have been three guys that have really done an exceptional job, in terms of talking to our younger players."

With just 11 scholarship players, Tulsa will rely on everybody to contribute this season. Manning calls it a "team by committee" and hopes for a different star every night. That is true, especially at the guard position, where the Hurricane returns Haralson and Peete, as well as guard/forward Smith, and features four newcomers.

"There will be times when there will be a young man that will play 25 minutes one night, and the next game he may only play 12, because of foul trouble, or because another teammate is playing pretty well," said Manning. "It's going to be multiple guys getting into the game, having an opportunity to play. Whoever is going the best is going to play the most that particular night. It's going to change. It will fluctuate. Certainly there will be individuals that we will have to depend on more than others, but across the board, we should have a lot of players averaging double-digit minutes on our team."

With the 6-8 Black and Wright, and 6-7 King and Swannegan, TU will not feature much height in the post. What the group lacks in size and experience, however, it makes up in athleticism.

"Every post player we have is new," said Manning. "I think we have very good team speed across the board in our front line. We definitely have to take advantage of our athletic ability, in terms of getting out and running the floor, offensively and defensively, and creating havoc with our speed and with our agility. We're not the thickest or the biggest, but our guys are plenty strong enough."

Fans will have their first opportunity to see the new-look Golden Hurricane in a pair of exhibition games at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. On Oct. 27, TU plays Emporia State at 3 p.m., and plays Panhandle State on Nov. 4 at 4:35 p.m.

The Manning Era officially kicks off Nov. 11 when Tulsa plays host to LSU Shreveport at 7 p.m.