The last year, the calendar year 2011, didn't go so well for Cowboys basketball.
Oklahoma State went 6-10 in Big 12 play, failed to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time under coach Travis Ford and was ousted in the second round of the NIT. Then, amid hyped anticipation of a new season, the Cowboys stumbled to a 7-6 nonconference record that represented the most losses for an OSU team through December since 1986-87.
In addition, two players hit the exits for home, leaving no remaining players from Ford's initial recruiting class of six.
OSU's combined record from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31: 13-16.
Ah, but a new year offers hope.
And in New Year's fashion, we offer our suggestions for some OSU basketball resolutions:
Hail Cezar Guerrero!
Yeah, the brash little freshman tries to do too much at times. But don't you believe, like him, that he can pull it off?
Guerrero is OSU's point guard of the future. And the future should be now.
He'll make some mistakes, sure, more than a few, too. But let him get them out of his system and grow into the player and playmaker he's destined to be. Because Guerrero will make some plays, too. And on a team that desperately lacks scoring options, he can put the ball in the hole. And accommodate Keiton Page in the process.
For Ford, who hesitates to surrender control to his point guards, it won't be easy unleashing Guerrero. But it will be rewarding.
Make Le'Bryan Nash earn it.
Much has been given to the heralded former prep star from Dallas, namely an immediate starting job. Much, too, should be expected.
So far, Nash hasn't produced, not with any regularity. And he still hasn't shown he can find another gear to push himself toward getting better.
Nash might one day be a great player. The skills are apparent, if in reserve for now.
So let him learn a work ethic and earn a spot in the starting five. When placed in a reserve role this season, he's thrived. Maybe he's more comfortable coming off the bench.
Maybe that's his best place – for now – anyway.
Press the issue.
The Cowboys have dabbled in pressure defense this season, often to solid results. But since the early stages of the non-conference schedule, they've reeled in that strategy. And still, when they've sprung it on teams in desperation, the press has worked.
So do it more. Much more.
The athletes are in place. And with a team seriously lacking shooters, applying pressure would push the pedal on pace, allowing those athletes to run and slash more freely to the basket for dunks and layups and fouls.
Now, if recent injuries to Markel Brown and Jéan-Paul Olukemi prove lengthy, depth issues could call for reconsideration.
Even then, it's only a cause to cut back on the pressure, not cut it out.
The Cowboys keep shooting. And missing much too frequently.
Ford's assembled a cast of athletes who can run and slash and get to the hole, not square up and shoot jumpers, with the exception of Page. And yet they rarely run.
Free the athletes.
It could be liberating.
It would definitely be more fun, to play and to watch.