POSTED ON NOVEMBER 12, 2008:
Meet Your Bixby Eagles
The 66ers deal out jerseys to familiar faces as the season draws nearer
Sloppy Seconds. The 66ers will receive trickle-down players from the Thunder. Don't expect a barrage of allocated players this season. The NBA team needs all the help it can get.
Congratulations to Oklahoma City. You have caught up with Tulsa in one regard. You now have your very own D-League basketball team. Enjoy!
More on the Bennett City Thunder in a bit. Let's talk Bixby 66ers basketball first. Or should we refer to them as the ORU 66ers.
In case you've been watching TIVO'd episodes of Two and a Half Men for the past several months, the Tulsa 66ers now call the SpiritBank Event Center home.
Several other changes have taken place with the minor league franchise.
Let me preface this by saying I use Web sites not only as a columnist but as a sports fan. I consider myself the only true professional basketball aficionado in Tulsa. I've got the fever. Where amazing happens. Yes, count it!
Finding 66ers information is manageable. However, for everyday fans who may only have passing interest in the franchise, the layout of the site should be accurate and easily accessible. That's simply not the case with the 66ers. Visit www.tulsa66ers.com for details and tickets.
The coaching staff has changed. Joey Meyer is out. Paul Woolpert is the new head coach in T-Town. Meyer is still listed on the roster page under "Coaching Staff."
The team is now owned by Clay Bennett, the man who purchased the Seattle Sonics and moved them to OKC.
The 66ers will receive trickle-down players from the Thunder. Don't expect a barrage of allocated players this season. The NBA team needs all the help it can get. No time to initiate players into a system like the Bucks the past few seasons with the 66ers.
Last Friday night at Indigo Joe's, the 66ers took part in the annual D-League draft. This year the home team selected first overall. With the first pick in the D-League draft, the 66ers selected Chris Richard.
Some may recall Richard from those dominate Florida Gators national championship teams. He was the wide-bodied sixth man. He's a physical presence and an all-around high-IQ basketball player.
After a smooth first round, things got a bit bumpy during the draft. The team proceeded to select three straight former Oral Roberts players in rounds two through four. The second round selection, Moses Ehambe, shouldn't raise eyebrows. He is a slasher-type scorer perfect for D-League style play. In rounds three and four the team stayed local and brought Yemi Ogunoye and Adam Liberty into the fold.
Is it possible these players were the best on the board at the time Tulsa selected? Sure. Is it more likely the team was instructed to load the roster with local flair to help attendance figures? Judge for yourself.
Keep in mind, a day earlier the D-League allocated players with local ties to each of the 16 teams. Tulsa received former Sooners Terrell Everett and Keith Clark, as well as Booker T Washington standout Ryan Humphrey.
Are the 66ers trying to win a championship or notch attendance marks? No one is discounting the ability of these players. It just seems a bit odd.
The team also returns Jeremy Kelly and Keith Closs from last year's squad. Missing? Mike Hall. Paging the vociferous Mike Hall. Please report to the 66ers at once. Your rebounding prowess and gift of gab will be missed.
Training camp gets underway November 17. The first regular season game is a roadie on November 28. The inaugural SpiritBank basketball contest is scheduled for December 5 versus the Albuquerque Thunderbirds.
Will the team court a competitive playoff caliber roster or a group of local heroes with little chemistry on the court?
Remember a week or so ago when TU lost at Arkansas? The wind was immediately removed from the sails of the TU express. Rarely have so many "fans" jumped off a bandwagon at once.
It will be curious how OSU fans react to the bludgeoning they received in Lubbock this past Saturday.
We had to see this one coming. The writing on the wall was more pronounced than "redrum" in The Shining.
Let's take a step back and look at this version of the Cowboys. After losing a close-fought battle to the Longhorns, the Pokes held firm to a no. 9 ranking.
Did they deserve it? They started the season with what was thought to be an impressive road win at Washington State. WSU is currently 1-9 on the season.
The other three pre-conference victories came against Houston, Missouri State and Troy. Nice.
Three of their Big 12 opponents have a combined record of 9-21. We're looking at you Texas A&M, Baylor and Iowa State. Patsies make for an embellished record.
The road upset of then-ranked no.3 Missouri was impressive. No doubt. However, everyone missed the boat. How did OSU win this game? Defensively.
This is the game Mike Gundy turned his back on the Cowboys defense. Yes, when the Tigers were driving the ball, Gundy was squatting near the bench coaching the offense.
This is a strategy employed by the New England Patriots Bill Belichick. It can work. One minor problem, Gundy is not Belichick.
A close loss to Texas looks pretty on the resume until you realize the Longhorns were on the end of a three-game gauntlet against OU and Missouri.
Moral of this story? You're looking at the same old OSU Cowboys. Big offense, shaky defense.
With Bedlam just around the corner, Poke fans are likely feeling a little less cocksure today.
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