OSU basketball: Gonzaga will offer a 'big' challenge for Cowboys' Kamari Murphy

The OSU forward fully understands and accepts the challenges of his current job description. He’s a small forward forced into a big-man role by the Cowboys’ roster limitations. It’s a role that will be spotlighted Friday when OSU takes on Gonzaga in its NCAA Tournament opener.
by John Helsley Published: March 17, 2014

STILLWATER — By now, Oklahoma State forward Kamari Murphy fully understands and accepts the challenges of his current job description.

At 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds, he’s a small forward forced into a big-man role by the Cowboys’ roster limitations.

And it’s a significant role, one that will be spotlighted Friday when OSU takes on Gonzaga in its NCAA Tournament opener.

“Gonzaga keeps good bigs,” Murphy said.

Good and, well… big bigs.

Last year, it was Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, two current pros. This time, it’ll be Sam Dower Jr. and Przemek Karnowski, the latter a 7-foot-1, 300-pound Polish import who – when he avoids foul trouble – is a load inside.

So when it comes to matchups, and it always seems to come down to matchups in March, does this qualify as bad?

Perhaps, Murphy said, although without indicating for whom.

“We’ve got to play our game,” he said. “They’ve got to guard us, too, our quickness and speed at the bigs positions. It should be a good matchup.”

Karnowski averages 10.2 points and 6.9 rebounds with a team-high 59 blocked shots in 34 games. He’s a force, but also surprisingly mobile for his size. But he’s also been prone to foul woes at times.

Dower is a fifth-year senior who has waited his turn, and made the most of it. At 15.0 points and 7.1 rebounds, he leads the Zags in both categories. Still, he’s not overly physical and is considered, primarily, an offensive player, although a versatile and good one.

So the Cowboys are facing a size disadvantage, with Murphy and 6-7 Le’Bryan Nash masquerading as post players.

So what else is new?

Murphy and Nash have grown used to this. Kansas and Joel Embiid, Perry Ellis and Tarik Black. Texas and Jonathan Holmes and Cameron Ridley. Kansas State and Thomas Gipson. And on and on.

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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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