By John Helsley
James Anderson… gone.
Obi Muonelo… gone.
Along with invaluable leadership and toughness and clutchness, the Cowboys are also losing their top two scorers, a duo responsible for 1,174 points this season, or 48 percent of the team’s scoring.
Read that again — almost half of the team’s scoring.
Where will all that lost production be made up in 2010-11? From everywhere, would be the best guess.
Matt Pilgrim should step up his offensive role and responsibility. Ray Penn’s return provides a jolt of scoring upgrade to the point. Marshall Moses is a proven, if sometimes erratic, scorer. And Keiton Page is the leading returning scorer, after averaging 10.7 points this season.
Sound good? Maybe not so much.
Well, don’t be alarmed. There are other answers, as well as some intriguing questions, like: How will Page’s role be defined?
In addition to the guys listed above, the Cowboys are counting on a boost from several newcomers, most notably freshman shooting guard Markel Brown and Juco transfer JP Olukemi. Brown averaged 32 points a game as the star on a 41-0 state title team in Louisiana.
Brian Williams, another talented guard, and forward Michael Cobbins are worth watching as well.
And OSU holdovers like Fred Gulley, Nick Sidorakis, Roger Franklin, Jarred Shaw, Torin Walker and Reger Dowell offer optimism of improved play.
Some will stride forward, while others will step back.
The coming months — and how hard guys work in the offseason — will determine the risers and fallers.
And these months will go a long way to answering the Page question.
With the return of Penn and the additions of Brown and Williams, the guard spots are drawing a crowd.
The Cowboys need Brown to be as good as advertised; good enough to start. And Olukemi, already on campus, has shown enough to project as a starter.
OSU coach Travis Ford has hinted that Page needs to make himself more versatile. And more valuable. Handling a share of the point guard responsibilities this season, when Penn was hurt, was a start. But right now, Page looks like a super sub at both guard spots, able to run the offense or fire daggers at enemy zones.
One guy’s early starting five:
PG Ray Penn
SG Markel Brown
SF JP Olukemi
F Matt Pilgrim
F Marshall Moses