OSU's Jurick has played big role for No. 13 Cowboys
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Saturday, March 09, 2013
3/09/13 at 7:19 AM
STILLWATER - For the first time in seven years, Oklahoma State's annual Senior Day ceremony will not include a player who spent his entire college career in Stillwater.
The lone honoree, Philip Jurick, will play his final home game Saturday in a key battle against No. 9 Kansas State. The 13th-ranked Cowboys are playing for the No. 3 seed in next week's conference tournament while the Wildcats will vie for a share of the Big 12 title.
"Looking back on it now, (my time at OSU) has gone pretty fast," Jurick said. "With Senior Day coming Saturday, it just made me realize how fast it went. ... It hasn't really hit me yet."
Jurick, a 6-foot-11 center, transferred to OSU after two seasons at Chattanooga State, a junior college in Tennessee. Since recovering from tearing an Achilles tendon late last season, he's started 27 games.
"There's no question; he's helped us win a lot of games this year," coach Travis Ford said. " ... I've never been around a guy (like him). Every mistake he makes, he always apologizes for, no matter what, before I even get onto him."
His stats aren't overwhelming (3.1 points, 5.9 rebounds) and he has never scored more than eight points in a game, but Jurick has been able to provide a strong inside presence.
"He understands his role on this team, what we need him to do and what we don't need him to do," Ford said. "Philip tries to play within himself - to a fault sometimes because I have more confidence in his offense than he probably does, as far as scoring the basketball."
Two other seniors are on the roster but won't participate in Senior Day: Jéan-Paul Olukemi, who missed all but two games with a torn ACL and will seek a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA; and Mason Cox, a second-year walk-on who plans to be on the team next season while finishing up his mechanical engineering degree.
Barring redshirt seasons, OSU's six signees in the Class of 2009 would be seniors, but none made it through his junior year.
Point guards Reger Dowell and Fred Gulley left within a week of each other midway into last season, likely the result of diminishing playing time.
Center Jarred Shaw and forward Roger Franklin were granted releases following their sophomore years, and OSU parted ways with previously suspended point guard Ray Penn before that season ended.
Another big man, Torin Walker, transferred after his freshman season. He played in 10 more games than fellow signee Karron Johnson, a forward who twice signed with OSU but didn't step foot on campus.
Darrell Williams also would have been a senior forward this season but was convicted in July of two counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual assault. He served nearly four months in jail before being released on a suspended sentence.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
The six signees of the Class of 2009 didn't conclude their careers at Oklahoma State. Here's where they wound up:
Reger Dowell: While averaging 5.5 points last season, Dowell left the team in December 2011. He is sitting out this season at UT Arlington and will have one year of eligibility remaining.
Roger Franklin: Citing a desire to be closer to home and his sick father, Franklin requested a transfer after his sophomore year. A starter at North Texas, he is averaging 11.6 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Fred Gulley: Because he left midway through the 2011-12 season and immediately enrolled at Arkansas, Gulley became eligible in January. He is averaging 1.6 points in 13 minutes a game.
Karron Johnson: He failed to qualify at OSU out of high school and re-signed two years later, but Johnson's dismissal from his junior-college team resulted in his parting ways with the Cowboys. He leads Division II Shaw University with 17.4 points per game.
Ray Penn: After being suspended as a sophomore for a violation of team rules, Penn didn't return to the team. He transferred to Texas Southern, where he is averaging 11.4 points as a starter.
Torin Walker: As a freshman, Walker played 27 minutes and compiled five rebounds and two points. As a junior at Middle Tennessee State, he is playing less than seven minutes a game.
Vs. Kansas State
12:30 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KFAQ am1170
Original Print Headline: Senior presence
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
Oklahoma State center Philip Jurick will play his final home game Saturday. KT KING/For the Tulsa World