Men's Basketball: Tulsa
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Monday, January 28, 2013
1/28/13 at 5:38 AM
12-9 overall, 4-3 C-USA
with Brandon Swannegan
Class: Redshirt freshman
Weight: 190 pounds
As a senior at Cypress-Ridge High School in Houston, Swannegan averaged 16.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and nearly six blocks per game. At TU, he was redshirted during the 2011-12 season, but he didn't forget how to block shots. This season Swannegan is the Golden Hurricane's leader in blocked shots. Against Southern Miss on Saturday, he had two blocks. At Houston last week, he scored a season-high nine points.
You sustained a dislocated right knee during the Jan. 2 Buffalo game. When you were lying there, being examined by medical personnel, did you fear that your season might have ended?
I was just thinking, 'Man, I just can't catch a break right now.' I was just hoping not to be out for too much longer. When I saw it, the pain got worse. The doctor popped it right back into place, right there on the floor.
Your dad, Clarence Swannegan, played at Texas Tech and was a 1982 draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs. You are a Houston native, but your favorite NBA team isn't the Rockets or Spurs. Your favorite team is the Brooklyn Nets. Why the Nets?
They had a really good team when I first started following them. Vince Carter, Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, Kenyon Martin, Nenad Krstic, Kerry Kittles. That was my team. I liked them back when they were going to the NBA Finals, and I liked them when they weren't very good. They're good again now.
When TU played at Tulane, it was a homecoming game for two of your teammates - New Orleans natives Pat Swilling Jr. and Rashad Ray. When you played at Dallas, it was a homecoming for Zeldric King. When TU played at Houston last week, was it a special night for you?
Yes. I had a lot of people there. My mom said a few people would be there, but a lot more showed up than we expected. It was nice.
During an 87-72 victory at Houston, the Golden Hurricane savored its most complete performance of the season. Scottie Haralson had 19 points while Tim Peete and James Woodard each finished with 14. TU shot 51 percent from the field, 12-of-25 from 3-point range and committed only 11 turnovers. On Saturday, first-place Southern Miss had a 44-29 advantage on the boards in a 62-59 win at the Reynolds Center.
The week ahead
Saturday: at Memphis, 1 p.m.
With a 73-72 home triumph over Marshall, Memphis improved to 16-3 overall and 5-0 in Conference USA. On Saturday - the second anniversary of its upset victory at the FedEx Forum - the Golden Hurricane visits Memphis. In one of the more significant victories during the Doug Wojcik era, Tulsa ended a 12-game losing streak against the Tigers, prevailing 68-65 on Feb. 2, 2011. Tim Peete is the only current member of the TU team who played that day.
The big picture
Danny Manning's first season at TU
If you talk with TU administrators, athletic department employees and longtime fans of the Hurricane program, you get the sense that Danny Manning's approval rating is high. With a rebuilt roster that includes eight newcomers (and six first-year freshmen), TU was expected to have a rough season. In spite of leg injuries that have sidelined difference-making forwards Rashad Smith and D'Andre Wright, the Hurricane is 12-9 overall and 4-3 in Conference USA. Manning never whines about the injuries. He makes effective adjustments during games. Opposing coaches rave about TU's defense. Manning seems to have the program on a positive track.
Should Swilling get more minutes and shots?
The answer is a resounding "yes." Guard Pat Swilling Jr. is a 21-year-old junior and more seasoned than most of his teammates. During Saturday's loss to Southern Miss, there were sequences during which the pressure seemed to affect some Hurricane freshmen. At crunch time, Swilling seems comfortable with the ball in his hands. In his role as TU's sixth man, Swilling ranks third on the team in shots attempted (8.7 per game) and minutes (24.3 per game). His 3-point percentage of .422 is the team's best. Should Swilling be in the starting lineup? Perhaps. Should Swilling average 12-15 shots and 30 minutes instead of 8.7 and 24.3? Yes.
Kauri Black emerges as an offensive option
To qualify for a ranking among Conference USA field-goal percentage leaders, a player must average at least three made field goals per game. To be ranked among national leaders, a player must average five made field goals. After a 4-of-4 performance against Southern Miss, Hurricane senior forward Kauri Black has a field goal percentage of .682. He has a 21-game total of 58 field goals - 2.8 per game. If he averaged three field goals per game, he would be the Conference USA leader. If he averaged five, he would be No. 3 nationally.