Coach Scott Sutton has more wins than any other basketball coach in ORU history. Entering his fifteenth season, new challenges will keep his job interesting as he prepares for ORU’s second season in the Southland Conference.
Sutton had a unique challenge last year as the team entered play in the Southland Conference after 15 seasons in the Summit League. Led by seniors Warren Niles and Damen Bell-Holter, the Golden Eagles posted their second consecutive 20-win season and earned a third place finish in the conference.
After a disappointing first-round exit in the conference tournament, Sutton and his staff began laying the foundation for the upcoming fall season.
The Golden Eagles welcome 10 new faces to the team, and many will be looked to for major minutes and productivity.
Obi Emegano is a redshirt sophomore who sat out last season after transferring from Western Illinois.
Emegano was a four-year letterman at Edmond Memorial High School where he was named the Mid-State Conference “Player of the year,” averaging 17.7 ppg, 8 rpg and 1.7 spg his junior season.
He was named to the 2012 Summit League All-Newcomer team averaging 13.1 ppg, and 3.9 rpg.
Omegano is a projected starter at guard, and will see big minutes this season alongside D.J. Jackson.
Tulsa native Drew Wilson is a redshirt sophomore who transferred to ORU from Missouri State after the tragic loss of his sister on April 3.
“Coach Sutton and ORU reached out to me to send their condolences and right then and there I knew I had to make the trip back home and play for ORU,” Wilson said. “They say you come to ORU for a reason, almost like you are destined to be here, and that’s exactly how I feel. They have welcomed me with open arms.”
Transfering players are usually required to sit out a year of eligibility, but the NCAA cleared Wilson to transfer with immediate play due to his family circumstances.
“The coaches came into the weight room and told me I had been cleared to play and it was just like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I was just thankful. The whole team came and hugged me man, and it was nothing but love,” Wilson said.
The returning corps consists of senior forward Shawn Glover, sophomore Brandon Conley, and redshirt sophomore guards D.J. Jackson and Korey Billbury.
Glover is the team’s lone senior and will be looked to for leadership both on and off the court.
The coaches are looking to Glover to be a strong influence on his younger teammates, and to leave his mark on the Southland Conference.
“Shawn’s a prolific scorer. He’s played at a high of a level through the first month of practice and tonight that I’ve seen in a long time,” said Sutton after the first preseason game Saturday night.
The Golden Eagles have been known for their tough non-conference matchups early in the season, and this year is no different. They will face Kansas State, Saint Louis, Wisconsin, Wichita State and Baylor on the road before the end of December.
Despite appearing young on paper, the Golden Eagles bring valuable experience to the floor.
“It’s still so early, and there’s so many new guys,” said Sutton, “but if we can maximize our potential and stay relatively healthy I think this team has a chance to compete for a conference championship.”