In today's society, we want our news and we want it five minutes ago. Correctness be damned. Same with sports. We crave preseason publications declaring the best teams in the land before a single whistle is blown.
How can anyone preview a season with no actual live game action? I guess what I'm trying to say is... here is your belated Tulsa 66ers preview. At least we can forecast utilizing some on the court action.
The 66ers enter their third year in the D-League. The NBA and commissioner David Stern are determined to make the feeder league a tremendous success. The feeling out process lasted a couple of years but it appears all NBA teams are on board. Most utilize the D-League as it was envisioned.
The Tulsa team is affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks this season. The team received two assignees to tip the season off. More on them in a minute.
The last week in November saw the 66ers go 2-0 on the road to start the campaign.
"So far I'm real pleased," said head coach Joey Meyer, entering his third year on the bench.
"We have a good personality, a good mix. They seem to be very unselfish in playing together," he said of this year's squad. We've all heard similar song and dance routines from coaches in the past.
However, if the current lineup stays in tact, we might just have a winner in town.
"We've got Ramon Sessions down from the Bucks and Nick Fazekas from the Mavs," he said with a twinkle in his eye.
In case you missed it, Sessions captured Performer of the Week honors after the 2-0 start. The 6-foot-3-inch point guard averaged more than 30 points a game in the two victories.
"It was a great award but I couldn't get that without winning those two games. I see that as a team award.
It's a great start," said Sessions. He played in three preseason games with the Bucks before being sent to Tulsa.
So how does a high draft pick respond to being sent to Tulsa?
"I'm fine with that. Getting playing time is what you want to do. Coming down here playing against NBA competition under a great coach is great experience. You get to play. You get to run the team."
Coach Meyer attributes the fast start to his team. Not individual players. One can only imagine a full season with Sessions running the show.
The problem with the D-League is the uncertainty.
"It's really a fluid situation," said Meyer. "Glen McGowan, our first round draft pick, is in California getting his knee examined. They could call up Sessions in a minute." In other words, you can't bank on a starting lineup from week-to-week.
A year ago the team was saddled with four injuries to big men. Add to that the three call-ups and the team was lucky to have a starting five at times.
Another player sent to Tulsa for a little PT is Fazekas from the Mavs. The rapport between Fazekas and Sessions is evident. Why? They laced them up together at Nevada in college.
Slicing and dicing through the paint is the man Mike Hall. Hall is the active 6-foot-8-inch forward out of George Washington. He makes his mark with rebounds and stout defense.
"I learned earlier if you do those two things somebody has got to play you or somebody is going to want you. That's what wins basketball games," said Hall.
He was called-up by the Washington Wizards at the end of last season.
"I went to preseason and training camp (Wizards) and because of the business part of things, the salary cap; they had to let me go.
"The NBA max, and most teams keep 15. They kept 12 because of the salary. Now two guys are hurt and they're down to 10 so let's see what they do," pondered Hall. Center Etan Thomas, Tulsa native, is out with a heart condition and underwent surgery. Superstar Gilbert Arenas is out for three months. Hall couldn't fill Agent Zeros role, but what about Thomas?
He sees the players daily and will assist me in breaking down the rest of the roster.
Jeremy Kelly (PG) "At the end of last year he played with a lot of energy." Jason Fontenet (PG) "Quick, speedy, small but he could fill it up." Keith Closs (7'3'' C) "Spent time with the Los Angeles Clippers-- blocks everything."
Scott Merritt (F/C) "Was here last year for a second before getting hurt. Versatile 4/5 man." Nick Fazekas (F) "Pick and pop and knock it down from anywhere on the court so that's going to help straighten defenses-- he knows the game." Chris Ellis (F) "Athletic, plays hard, dunks everything in the paint."
Mustafa Al-Sayyad (F) "Plays hard in the paint." Dwight Brewington (G) "Very athletic, can score, can fill it up." Adam Harrington (G) "Great shooter, great teammate."
Hall does his fair share too. He's easy to find on the court. He's the guy who likes to "Get enthusiastic, scream a little bit." He also predicts a great season. Visit nba.com/dleague/tulsa/ or call 585-8444 for ticket information.
A quick word on the upcoming college bowl season. Yuck.
The Bowl Championship Series has finally done the unthinkable. They have managed to piss off the entire nation. The selections feel dirty. Plain and simple.
How bout those pesky Sooners? OU eviscerated the Missouri Tigers in front of millions in the Big 12 Championship game. Their reward? Another Fiesta. Extensive breakdowns to come as the bowl season approaches.
The Insight Bowl bound Oklahoma State Cowboys face the Indiana Hoosiers. Too bad this isn't on the hard court. New Year's Eve in Tempe, Arizona isn't too shabby.
Tulsa lost once again to the University of Central Florida. No shame. UFC trots out the nation's top rusher. UFC played at home. Tulsa gave great effort and will be rewarded with a post-New Year's day trip to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on January 6.
Tulsa, C-USA runner-up, will face Bowling Green out of the MAC. More bowl coverage to follow as the date creeps closer.
Stay tuned for exciting stories and bowl coverage in the coming weeks!
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