Imagine it's your last day on the job in your office. You are offered two distinctly different methods in which to celebrate. Management could serve cake and punch to your fellow employees and give you a pat on the back.
Option two goes something like this. The boss hands you a mammoth bonus check and reveals a picture of you on the wall for all to view for years to come?
Well, what's it going to be? How would you prefer to exit stage left? If you choose the bonus check -- and who wouldn't -- you had better have left behind a colossal impression on your business, co-workers and community.
Oral Roberts' basketball team has precisely the kind of guys who warrant such a send off. Thanks to their tireless work ethic and outstanding on-court performance -- Caleb "Rollin'" Green and Ken "King" Tutt are going out in style.
This Saturday marks the final 'home' game of the season for the Golden Eagles. More importantly, it will be the finale at the Mabee Center, 7777 South Lewis, for both Green and Tutt.
A scintillating idea was conjured up in the bowels of the ESPN hype machine. Bracket Buster Saturday. For the second straight year, ORU partakes in the festivities.
"I think it's terrific to showcase our program, showcase the Mabee Center and showcase our university. It's a special way to send them off," says head coach Scott Sutton.
ORU plans to celebrate both seniors at the conclusion of their battle with Utah State. The Aggies provide a formidable opponent. They are currently perched in the third spot of the Western Athletic Conference. Remember the WAC?
"I think it says a lot about the impact that Caleb and Ken have had on the program," coach Sutton says regarding ESPN's decision to visit Tulsa. The Golden Eagles slapped together more than 80 wins since the dynamic duo arrived on campus.
Green is the reigning two-time Mid-Con Player of the Year. Barring an upset of epic proportions -- a three-peat is a mere formality.
He snatches 9.7 rebounds per contest. That's good enough to rank 13 in the nation. Scoring 19.8 a game places him in the top 20 nationally as well.
Tutt's assist numbers and steals are up over a year ago. However, those aren't the numbers who define the man. A near 40 percent clip from behind the arch is what makes his clock tick. His leeway to launch from downtown provides precious spacing for the convocation of Eagles.
Going to print, the team has lost only one conference game. It took overtime and a hostile crowd to defeat the Eagles. Valparaiso capitalized on 15 turnovers and a sub-par shooting night to knock off ORU.
Human nature dictates a natural relaxation when the sailing is a bit too smooth. It is much harder to stay on top once you have climbed the proverbial mountain. "We have an opportunity for a championship. I think because of Ken and Caleb, who have been through a long season before, they understand we have to compete to get better--and that is what our goal is.
"We have to try and get better and prepare us for the postseason," reiterates Sutton. When is the last time a singular postseason quest meant so much to a group?
To his credit -- the sensational Green is not backing down from preseason comments on postseason success. This past October he said under no uncertain terms - "Now we feel like we can go to the NCAA and win some ballgames."
He claimed anything less than a NCAA berth would be disheartening to say the least. This team is built to compete with the best the nation has to offer.
Just ask Bill Self and his Kansas Jayhawks. Attention rock chalk Jayhawks: A friendly reminder. 78-71 in Lawrence, Kansas. Score one for the good guys.
Can two guys carry the load? Sure. Is a two-man show the best way to approach a prolonged stretch of do-or-die type games? Probably not.
The 6-10 center Shawn King is rejecting more than two shots a game. This doesn't account for the ones he altered at the rim.
The third leading scorer for the Eagles is Marchello Vealy. His field goal percentage is a phenomenal 49 percent. However, he is missing one out of three freebies at the charity stripe.
What about a surprise contributor? The guy who is giving some lagniappe. "I think Moses Ehambe has been a little bit better than anticipated," says Sutton.
"He is a terrific shooter. He got off to a slow start to the season but he has really played well for the last couple of months. He has really played well during the conference season," says Sutton.
Looking ahead. The Mid-Con postseason tourney takes place March 3-6 at the John Q. Hammons Arena at the UMAC (Union Multipurpose Activity Center), 6836 S. Mingo Road.
Saturday, and then through the tournament will be your last opportunity to witness the Golden Eagles in Tulsa--then you'll have to catch 'em post season on tv. We may all be retired before we see talent of this caliber again at ORU.
There is a mountain of pressure on this bunch to get 'it' done. Don't count them out.
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