Plenty of experience
This season’s ORU men’s basketball team does not lack experience, returning eight letter winners, including last year’s leading scorer, redshirt-senior forward Emmanuel Nzekwesi. After last season’s roster had five freshmen listed, the Golden Eagles have only one this season. That’s compared to five seniors on the roster.
Competing for The conference title
With a plethora of experience and returning their leading scorer from last season, more people outside of the ORU locker room are noticing the Golden Eagles’ chances to compete for a Summit League title. ORU was picked to finish third in the league’s preseason poll, behind North Dakota State and South Dakota. The Golden Eagles also received three first-place votes.
Starting out with the biggest game
The Golden Eagles’ biggest game of the season could be their first. ORU will start the season Wednesday with a trip to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State. Six days later, the Golden Eagles get city rival Tulsa at the Reynolds Center. Other notable opponents on ORU’s schedule include Iowa, Wichita State and BYU. ORU plays all those teams on the road and all but BYU in November.
Players to watch
Nzekwesi, a 6-foot-8 forward, led the Golden Eagles in scoring and rebounding last season, averaging 14.8 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. Last year’s successes were a big reason behind Nzekwesi being selected to the preseason All-Summit League first team. Nzekwesi, a redshirt senior, is also the most experienced player on ORU’s roster.
Obanor was a standout freshman forward for the Golden Eagles last season, averaging 14.4 points a game, which was second behind Nzekwesi. Like Nzekwesi, Obanor also was selected to the preseason All-Summit League first team.
Abmas is the only freshman on ORU’s roster this season but didn’t show any signs of struggling to adjust in his first collegiate action when the Golden Eagles played Central Arkansas in an exhibition game. Abmas, a 6-foot-1 guard, was ORU’s leading scorer, tallying 18 points thanks to six 3-pointers.
Nov. 6: at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m., ESPN+
Nov. 8: Houston Baptist, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 12: at Tulsa, 7 p.m.
Nov. 15: at Iowa 7 p.m.
Nov. 19: Rogers State, 7 p.m.
Nov. 23: at Wichita State, 2 p.m.
Nov. 25: Southwestern Christian, 7 p.m.
Dec. 3: at Creighton, 7:30 p.m., FS1
Dec. 8: Haskell, 2 p.m.
Dec. 14: Central Oklahoma, 7 p.m.
Dec. 17: at Chicago State, 7 p.m.
Dec. 21: Missouri State, 1 p.m.
Dec. 28: at BYU, 8 p.m., BYUTV
Jan. 2: at South Dakota State, 8:15 p.m.
Jan. 4: at Omaha, 7 p.m.
Jan. 9: North Dakota State, 7 p.m., ESPN+
Jan. 11: North Dakota, 7 p.m., ESPN+
Jan. 16: at Western Illinois, 7 p.m.
Jan. 18: at Purdue Fort Wayne, noon
Jan. 25: at South Dakota, 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 29: South Dakota State, 7 p.m., ESPN+
Feb. 1: Denver, 7 p.m.
Feb. 6: at North Dakota, 7 p.m.
Feb. 8: at North Dakota State, 1 p.m.
Feb. 12: Omaha, 7 p.m., ESPN+
Feb. 15: South Dakota, 7 p.m., ESPN+
Feb. 20: at Denver, 8 p.m.
Feb. 27: Western Illinois, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 29: Purdue Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., ESPN+
No. Player Ht. Class Hometown
0 Kevin Obanor 6-8 So. Houston, Texas
1 Elijah Lufile 6-8 So. Milton, Ontario,
2 Deondre Burns 6-3 Sr. Yazoo City,
3 Max Abmas 6-1 Fr. Rockwall, Texas
5 D’Mauria Jones 6-3 Jr. Los Angeles
10 Sam Kearns 6-1 Sr. San Antonio, Texas
11 Carlos Jurgens 6-5 So. Tartu, Estonia
12 R.J. Fuqua 5-11 So. Tulsa
13 Aidan Saunders 6-4 Sr. Lithonia, Georgia
14 Deshang Weaver 6-8 So. Houston
21 Ty Lazenby 6-5 Sr. Glencoe
22 Francis Lacis 6-7 So. Riga, Latvia
23 Emmanuel Nzekwesi 6-8 Sr. Trophy Club, Texas
Same preseason expectations
ORU is predicted to finish in fourth place in the Summit League preseason poll, the same slot the poll projected the Golden Eagles to finish last year. ORU finished one spot better in third after going 18-13. This season, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Denver were selected to finish above ORU.
Powerful names on schedule
ORU’s schedule features several recognizable names, with five Power 5 opponents slated for the Golden Eagles. ORU’s Power 5 foes are Arkansas, Kansas State, Utah, Nebraska and Oklahoma State. The Golden Eagles will face Utah, Nebraska and OSU in three consecutive games in December. All of ORU’s contests against Power 5 opponents will be away from the Mabee Center.
Familiar faces returning
The Golden Eagles return four of their five starters from last season — Keni Jo Lippe, Maya Mayberry, Rylie Torrey and Montserrat Brotons. Junior guard Katie Kirkhart also made 10 starts last year. The roster features plenty of experience with five seniors and nine returning letter winners.
Players to watch
Keni Jo Lippe
Lippe, a junior guard from Adair, was the only ORU player to receive any preseason recognition, being selected to the preseason All-Summit League second team. She was the Golden Eagles’ second-leading scorer last season, averaging 13.3 points a game during her 21 starts as a sophomore.
Although Mayberry didn’t receive any preseason honors, she finished last season on the All-Summit League second team while starting 29 games at guard as a sophomore. Mayberry is a 3-point specialist, making 43% of her attempts last year.
Torrey, a redshirt-senior guard, started in 23 games last year in her first season with the Golden Eagles after a long road to get to ORU. After leading Locust Grove High School to a state title, Torrey went to NOC-Enid, where she was honorable mention on the NJCAA All-America team and had the best free-throw percentage in the NJCAA, recording 54 consecutive free throws. Torrey then went to Northeastern State for a season before transferring to ORU.
Nov. 5: Central Christian, 11 a.m.
Nov. 8: Texas State, 5 p.m.
Nov. 11: Wichita State, 7 p.m.
Nov. 14: at Arkansas, 7 p.m.
Nov. 18: at Kansas State, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 21: at Tulsa, 7 p.m.
Nov. 23: Houston Baptist, 2 p.m.
Nov. 30: Sam Houston State, 2 p.m.
Dec. 3: at Southern Utah, Noon
Dec. 5: at Utah, 8 p.m.
Dec. 14: at Nebraska, 1 p.m.
Dec. 20: at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m.
Dec. 31: Rogers State, Noon
Jan. 2: at South Dakota State, 6 p.m.
Jan. 4: at Omaha, 2 p.m.
Jan. 8: North Dakota State, 7 p.m.
Jan. 11: North Dakota, 2 p.m.
Jan. 16: at Purdue Fort Wayne, 6 p.m.
Jan. 18: at Western Illinois, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 26: at South Dakota, 1 p.m.
Jan. 30: Denver, 7 p.m.
Feb. 1: South Dakota State, 2 p.m.
Feb. 7: at North Dakota, 7 p.m.
Feb. 9: at North Dakota State, 1 p.m.
Feb. 13: Omaha, 7 p.m.
Feb. 15: South Dakota, 2 p.m.
Feb. 23: at Denver, 2 p.m.
Feb. 27: Western Illinois, 5 p.m.
Feb. 29: Purdue Fort Wayne, 2 p.m.
No. Name Ht. Class Hometown
1 Nena Taylor 5-8 Fr. Parsons, Kansas
3 Katie Kirkhart 5-9 Jr. Muskogee
10 Maya Mayberry 5-8 Jr. Tulsa
11 Gem Summers 5-9 Fr. Tulsa
13 Rachel Skalnik 5-8 Sr. Owasso
20 Regan Schumacher 6-2 Jr. Olathe, Kansas
21 Rylie Torrey 5-11 Sr. Locust Grove
22 Karly Gore 5-9 Fr. Taloga
23 Macy Gore 5-7 Fr. Taloga
24 Montserrat Brotons 6-4 Sr. Cocentaina, Spain
32 Sarah Garvie 5-8 Sr. Burlington
33 Keni Jo Lippe 5-9 Jr. Adair
41 Jentry Holt 6-3 Sr. Elgin
55 Raelene Eddens 5-11 Fr. Luther