The most important pieces to the puzzle for head coach Scott Sutton, and the ORU men’s basketball team will be those who weren’t originally in the picture. Although there aren’t supposed to be any shortcuts to success, college basketball fans may have overlooked one system hack which is finding transfers who can step into a program and produce right away. It is the X-factor for mid-major schools.
There’s no secret some programs have their work cut out for them when trying to grab top talent. Convincing a prestigious recruit to turn down a large, well-known school to play in a mid-level conference sometimes takes a miracle.
But if ORU can serve as a viable safety net for players whose Plan A didn’t turn out quite how they expected, the program as a whole will see more rewards in the near future.
During the two-year stint ORU competed in the Southland Conference, 50 percent of the all-tournament teams consisted of players who transferred into the conference. After returning to the Summit League last year, it was more of the same. At least 50 percent of the last two all-tournament teams for the conference have consisted of transfer athletes.
Over the past two seasons the leading scorers for the Golden Eagles were Shawn Glover and Obi Emegano. Both guys were at previous universities, Glover from Utah and Emegano from Western Illinois.
Emegano, a key ingredient for ORU, now enters his senior season as the preseason conference player of the year, and he was once not even in the mix. Sutton isn’t shy when it comes to playing his new acquisitions. Three out of five players who played the most minutes last year transferred in from other programs.
“This could be the deepest and most talented team we’ve had in quite some time,” Sutton said.
The heart of this team’s depth and talent will be found in new pieces. This year’s roster is loaded with transfers who are expected to contribute.
Darian Harris played at Creighton during the 2013-2014 season and returns this season.
Point guard Aaron Young is back; he transferred in from Eastern Oklahoma Junior College last season.
Aaron Anderson should also be a key piece since transferring from Fresno State and Central Oklahoma after the 2013-2014 season.
Center Tre Vance and combo guard Jalen Bradley were also junior college additions in the offseason.
Emegano has succeeded since leaving Western Illinois. Now he will need guys who have previous college basketball experience to help him.
He is a guy Sutton has labeled as capable of “putting the team on his back.”
Whether they realize it or not, the Golden Eagles will need a few more journeymen to help with the luggage if they want to enjoy this year’s ride.
Photos courtesy of ORU Athletics