Men's Basketball: Tulsa
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Monday, January 21, 2013
1/21/13 at 5:52 AM
11-8 overall, 3-2 C-USA
with Zeldric King
Weight: 270 pounds
In November 2011, King, D'Andre Wright and James Woodard signed national letters of intent to play basketball at the University of Tulsa. At the end of the 2011-12 season, Golden Hurricane coach Doug Wojcik was dismissed. After Danny Manning was hired, King, Wright and Woodard decided to report to TU instead of examining other options. All three have been significant freshmen. "When they brought in coach Manning, I felt even stronger about it because of who he is and his basketball knowledge," King says. "When I saw that D'Andre and James were staying, I knew that I would stay."
You've dropped nearly 30 pounds since the summer. How difficult was it for you?
When I got here, I was 299. I came in with the mind-set of getting to work. I haven't bought a lot of new clothes yet. I just get a belt and tighten my pants. I feel like my body is more in shape, but I've got to keep working. As a senior, I was around 250 pounds. Right before I came (to TU), I went on a cruise for a week. Everything (food) is free, and it's 24 hours. No workouts. Just chilling.
Weight loss requires sacrifice. What food do you miss most?
A big plate of barbecue. Ribs, chicken, sliced beef, chopped beef, baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw. I love that brisket.
You're a Dallas native. When Tulsa won at SMU on Jan. 6, how many of your friends and family were in attendance?
My mom told me that she got 62 tickets, so I know for sure that there were 62 there. Some of cousins also went to the game, so there were probably more than 80 people there for me.
There was a three-point Conference USA victory over UTEP and a three-point defeat at Tulane. On Wednesday, in spite of committing four turnovers during the game's final minute, the Golden Hurricane held on for a 45-42 triumph. UTEP's Konner Tucker misfired on a 3-point attempt as time expired. During a 75-72 setback at Tulane, Tulsa rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit to take a six-point lead in the second half.
The week ahead
Wednesday: at Houston, 7 p.m.
Saturday: vs. Southern Miss, 3 p.m.
Two tough assignments. Tulsa visits Houston (where the Hurricane is 1-5 in its last six contests at Hofheinz Pavilion) and hosts Southern Miss (the Conference USA leader with a 4-0 mark in league play).
An overtime home loss to Central Florida dropped Houston to 1-3 in conference play. The Cougars lead C-USA in scoring and have three of the top 16 scorers in the league: Joseph Young with a 17-point average, TaShawn Thomas at 15.9 and freshman Danuel House at 13.6.
On Jan. 16, Southern Miss' defense overwhelmed Houston. The Golden Eagles prevailed 73-54. The Cougars shot only 33 percent from the field.
The big picture
For young TU team, growing pains
With 2:30 remaining in Saturday's Conference USA game at Tulane, Golden Hurricane freshman Shaq Harrison got a steal and had a clear path to what should have been an easy basket. TU trailed 67-63. But instead of converting on a safe dunk or layup, Harrison attempted a spectacular dunk that bounced off of the rim. At the other end, the Green Wave got two free throws and a six-point lead. Tulane wound up with a 75-72 victory. Tulsa coach Danny Manning relies heavily on four first-year freshmen. The Harrison play was a classic example of a rookie mistake.
Minimal interior scoring a problem
With forwards Rashad Smith and Wright having missed a combined total of 22 games because of leg injuries, Tulsa's interior offense has been significantly diminished. Before they were injured, Smith had a 14.5 scoring average while Wright averaged 8.2. At Tulane on Saturday, Hurricane forwards Kauri Black, King and Brandon Swannegan had combined totals of only six shot attempts and eight points. Currently, their combined scoring average is only 12.6 points per game.
For Hurricane, way too many fouls
Within the first 90 seconds of the Tulane game, Tulsa senior forward Black was whistled for two fouls. He was sent to the bench and wound up playing a total of only seven minutes. In 31 games last season, Tulsa had 18 foul-out disqualifications. Through 19 games this season, the Hurricane is averaging 19.9 fouls per game, and there have been 15 foul-out disqualifications. Last season, no Tulsa player fouled out of more than five games. Black already has fouled out in seven games.