OSU basketball's Cezar Guererro on the verge of seizing a larger role for Cowboys

OSU BASKETBALL — Oklahoma State University men's basketball player Cezar Guerrero has “Ceez The Moment” tattooed across his chest. Guerrero and the Cowboys are hoping to “Ceez” a title in the NIT Preseason Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden in New York City this week.
BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Modified: November 22, 2011 at 5:04 pm •  Published: November 22, 2011
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Across Cezar Guerrero's chest, stretching in an arc from one side to the other, read the words “Ceez The Moment.”

A clear play off his name, Guerrero nonetheless seized the decisive moments of Oklahoma State's wild 90-85 overtime win over Texas-San Antonio last week, scoring 29 points and all but single-handedly lifting the Cowboys in the end.

So, did Guerrero also seize a larger role, even a starting role in the process?

OSU coach Travis Ford is trying to preach patience, perhaps with himself as much as Guerrero.

“He's still a freshman,” Ford said. “Now, I do think he is showing me each and every day that he can carry a little bit more than maybe I thought a freshman could at this point.

“CJ is somebody we talk about frequently in our staff meetings. His role is continually getting bigger and bigger.”

Guerrero played huge against UTSA, first keeping the Cowboys in the game, then rallying them in the final two minutes of regulation, before carrying the team in the overtime. Without him, OSU wouldn't be unbeaten and wouldn't be in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off, where it faces Stanford on Wednesday night inside Madison Square Garden.

Ford recognizes all of that.

“Obviously his plays were the difference,” Ford said, “but his energy level was what I think brought us back. I think he got everybody else energized. That's his game.

“We've got to channel it in the right direction at times. But for a freshman to have done that, that's one of the more impressive things I have seen in a while.”

And yet, Ford seems hesitant to completely and trustingly hand over the offense to the rookie so soon, even if it appears inevitable.

Guerrero is willing to wait.

“He's the coach and he knows what he's doing,” Guerrero said. “He knows when to put people in certain situations.

“My time is every time I go onto the court. I just give them my hardest every time. Every time I step onto this court and it's between these lines, it's my time.”



MEN'S BASKETBALL

Oklahoma State Vs. Stanford

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City.

Radio: KXXY 96.1 FM.

TV: ESPN2

Three things to know:

1. Keiton Page (toe) is questionable for the Stanford game, a semifinal pairing in the NIT Season Tip-Off.

2. Stanford finished 15-16 a year ago and was picked for the middle of the Pac-12.

3. OSU will face either No. 5 Syracuse or Virginia Tech in the championship or consolation final. Virginia Tech is due to visit Stillwater on New Year's Eve.

Projected Starting Lineups

Oklahoma State (3-0);;;;;

Pos.;Player;Ht.;Wt.;Cl.;Pts.;Reb.

F;Jéan-Paul Olukemi;;6-6;Jr.;12.7;5.0

F;Le'Bryan Nash;6-7;Fr.;12.0;6.3

F;Michael Cobbins;6-8;Fr.;3.3;4.7

G;Keiton Page;5-9;Sr.;8.5;2.0*

G;Fred Gulley;6-2;So.;5.3;2.3

Stanford (4-0);;;;;

Pos.;Player;Ht.;Wt.;Cl.;Pts.;Reb.

F;Josh Owens;6-8;Sr.;12.3;4.3

F;Andrew Zimmerman;6-8;Sr.;2.8;1.0

G;Aaron Bright;5-11;So.;13.8;3.5

G;Chasson Randle;6-1;Fr;8.8;3.8

G;Jarrett Mann;6-4;Sr.;6.5;5.3

* assists

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