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Oklahoma State basketball: Cowboys have a shot to win the Big 12 this year

The Oklahoman's OSU beat writer John Helsley took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11:30 a.m. on Here's a look at today's Q&A.

by John Helsley Modified: February 12, 2013 at 12:05 pm •  Published: February 12, 2013

The Oklahoman's OSU beat writer John Helsley took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11:30 a.m. on Here's a look at today's Q&A.

John Helsley 11:03 a.m. Greetings, on a snowy Tuesday! Big flakes falling on the Edmond hacienda. And still, I'm here to chat with you. Big doings with the Cowboys hoops team, who can claim a share of first place in the Big 12 with a win at Tech tomorrow night. And a Big Bedlam showdown looms Saturday. Let's get going...,
Eric S. 11:04 a.m. What are your odds that OSU wins the Big 12 in MBB this year?
John Helsley 11:05 a.m. With K-State falling last night, I've moved the Cowboys to the top of the list in the race to win the league. They've still got much to do, with big home games against OU, KU and K-State. But that's also where they can seize control.
Pokezilla 11:06 a.m. Has the new offensive coordinator made it to Stillwater yet? If so, what are the initial impressions?
John Helsley 11:08 a.m. Excellent question. I believe so, based on Gundy's comments from last week, when Yurcich was hired. But everyone's been put on lockdown as far as any contact with anyone. Can't talk to Gundy. Can't talk to the new coordinator. Heck, Gundy's power seems to reach all the way to the great state of PA (my birthplace, btw). The head coach and his players aren't commenting either. With recent social media events regarding one high-profile athlete, you almost wonder if this coach actually exists.
John Helsley 11:08 a.m. Meant to say the head coach at Shippensburg, and the players there.
Eric S. 11:08 a.m. What would be more impressive winning the Big 12 or going to elite 8?
John Helsley 11:11 a.m. Elite 8, although either or both would be mighty impressive. Impatient fans were calling for heads to roll a couple of weeks ago, now their Pokes are the hottest thing going in the Big 12. And they should finish strong, as I see them as a team that is gaining confidence and comfort. Back to the question, to get to the Elite 8, it would require a big finish in the league, and then some quality wins at The Dance.
John Helsley 11:12 a.m. Lots of folks trolling the Power Lunch, but few bringing questions. C'mon, fire away. You got questions, we got answers.
Pokezilla 11:12 a.m. Marcus Smart has been playing tremendous basketball as a freshman. Any insight on whether he leaves for the NBA after 1 year or stays another year to hone his skills?
John Helsley 11:15 a.m. Oooh, that's the multi-million dollar question, right? If it were almost any other athlete I've covered in 20 years of doing this, I'd say he'd jump to the NBA in a heartbeat. Smart is different. Now, he still may go, the lure of the big stage and the money may be too much to resist. But I feel like there's a decent chance he stays. I don't think he's ready to be a starting NBA point guard yet, so it might serve him well to come back and get better in games, rather than in practices at the next level. Also, he and Forte are close, really close, teammates since the third grade and roommates. So there's that. And, if Smart returns, the Cowboys would be a legit Final Four candidate next year.
Eric S. 11:15 a.m. OSU is still in the hunt for a 2013 DT from Louisiana who didn't get signed by LSU. Does it look like he will make it for a visit? What are the odds that he signs with OSU?
John Helsley 11:17 a.m. All's been quiet on this front. Know the kid is looking around and considering a visit to Stillwater. His mom wants him close to home. If the Cowboys get him in for a visit, I think there's a decent chance he signs. The trick is getting him in before he visits and commits elsewhere.
Hohn Jelsley 11:18 a.m. Have the fences been mended between Gundy and Holder?
John Helsley 11:19 a.m. To some degree, yes. Gundy appreciates what Holder has done for the athletic department. Respects it. There are just certain things he wants as the head coach, namely more control over some aspects, like scheduling. This is a major sticking point. But for now, it appears the relationship is stable.
Dr Evil 11:19 a.m. Outlook for OSU Baseball this season ?
John Helsley 11:23 a.m. The season starts soon, too, by the way, with a visit to New Mexico -- a Top 25 team -- this weekend. I think there's reason for optimism. The talent is not up to Big 12 contention quality, although Josh and his staff have recruited well for next year and beyond. And there's a need for several injured pitchers to be healthy and back to 100 percent. Still, the Big 12 isn't loaded. And the atmosphere around the team seems improved, with a heavy emphasis on fundamentals and doing the little things. If Jason Hursh can be a lefit ace, and some other pitchers come through, they have a shot to make the NCAA Tournament.
Eric S. 11:23 a.m. BTW John, you do a great job covering OSU!
John Helsley 11:24 a.m. Thanks, Eric. Such comments are always welcome, along with lunches and contributions to the IRA.
Defos Mustache 11:24 a.m. How do you think the football conference race will shake out next season? I know things may change after learning things in spring practice ...
John Helsley 11:26 a.m. I like OSU's chances to win it. They've got 15 or so starters back, have the best QB situation in the league and get OU, TCU and K-State at home. The Sooners and Frogs figure to be the other top contenders. Still not buying the Horns, although that trip to Austin won't be easy.
tom 11:26 a.m. What does OSU need to get GIA to 85% capacity consistently - A Final Four run? Lower prices? It's sad to watch an OSU game seeing the place so empty...
John Helsley 11:28 a.m. It'll be interesting to see how the fans react for Saturday. That's a huge game in the conference race, against the Sooners. The team is playing well. They play hard. And let me tell you, from being around these guys, it's a good bunch of kids. If folks don't come out now, I don't have any answers. I mean, jeez, 9,000-plus tickets are already sold, folks just need to make an effort. Some students haven't even picked up their tickets.
BostonPoke 11:28 a.m. How is Tshimanga and Seth Jacobs are going? Who do you see taking WLB position?
John Helsley 11:30 a.m. It's going to be a great spring from a competitive standpoint, at several positions, LB being one of them. There's a lot of optimism about Tshimanga and Jacobs, as well as other young LBs. There's a need to get Lyndell Johnson on the field more, as well as Ryan Simmons. The challenge is making it all fit. Should start to clear up in the spring.
Dr Evil 11:30 a.m. Prediction on Bedlam Basketball this weekend ?
John Helsley 11:31 a.m. Well, always like the home team in this series. And the Pokes are playing much better -- and smoother -- than their visit to Norman. OU suffered a tough break losing Buddy Hield to a fractured foot Monday. He was big in the first meeting. Should be a fun, entertaining game. Like the Cowboys.
ACs ghost 11:32 a.m. Are there going to be any new faces we should look out for next season in football?
John Helsley 11:34 a.m. There's the new/old faces -- Tracy Moore and Michael Harrison. And watch out for the two new WR signees, Ateman and Samples, they'll be given a shot to contribute. Both new RBs, Webster and Childs, have an opening to earn a share of the job, as the Cowboys like having two backs to count on. I'd look for an increased role from DE Trace Clark and a potential breakout from OT Michael Wilson.
Bill 11:35 a.m. It didn't surprise me that Gundy had a OC right after signing day, after saying it will take a month to find one. Does that make you feel angry about how oSu handles the press with this?
John Helsley 11:36 a.m. Actually, Gundy told a few of us, off to the side a few minutes after the big press conference, that he was closer than he suggested. He didn't want the OC questions to overrun the signing day events, the time to salute the new kids. I get that. There are areas where I wish Mike was more upfront, but then, that's the trend in this business. Unfortunately. You the readers are the ones who suffer.
Joe 11:36 a.m. Care to guess as to when osu will build a new baseball ?
John Helsley 11:37 a.m. A date, or year? No. But I do think it's on the agenda. And with Josh in place, and several former influential players presumably more willing to jump on board in the donation dept., it should speed up the process.
Pat 11:37 a.m. Shouldn't Curry be a contributing wideout this year as well?
John Helsley 11:38 a.m. Curry, Shepard, Webb, Hays, Seales, Glidden... Cowboys are loaded at the position.
Stevie 11:38 a.m. I always enjoy "Where are They Now" pieces. Any idea what Bryant Reeves is doing these days ?
John Helsley 11:39 a.m. He's living in Oklahoma, has a big house near Gans, I believe. He shows up now and then for games at GIA.
Eric S. 11:39 a.m. With the new OC, who do you think will initially have the edge for QB1? Who do you think will start the season as QB1?
John Helsley 11:40 a.m. Gundy said that Chelf would carry the No. 1 tag into spring. But I fully expect there to be an all-out competition for the job. I still believe Lunt is the future at the position. Does that future begin anew in September. Don't know. Too much to be settled in the spring.
Joe 11:40 a.m. I believe Lunt will take over the starting role before its all said and done. What say you?
John Helsley 11:41 a.m. Joe, I said it, and I'm on board with you. He just fits the full offense better, with the ability to throw with accuracy to all points on the field. The other QBs -- with the exception of Daxx Garman, a wild card in this thing -- don't have the same arm.
John Helsley 11:42 a.m. OK, folks, another overtime session of the Power Lunch. Enjoyed it, as always. Check in on Twitter @jjhelsley for my in-game reports from Lubbock tomorrow night. And of course, in the paper and online. And be safe out there in the snow!
-- JH
by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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