Oklahoma City University looks to exceed advance projections for the 2015-16 men’s basketball season.
The Sooner Athletic Conference preseason men’s basketball poll has Oklahoma City University slotted to finish sixth in the SAC for the 2015-16 campaign.
OCU begins their season under new head coach Vinay Patel with an exhibition game during Homecoming at 2 p.m. Nov. 7 against Southwestern Oklahoma State at Abe Lemons Arena.
“I’m getting more familiar with the league every day,” Patel said. “I don’t think you can really look too much into preseason rankings. Our goal is to finish a lot better than that this year.”
The Stars concluded the 2014-15 season with an 18-9 record. OCU reached the NAIA Division I Tournament before Concordia (Calif.) eliminated the Stars 74-62. OCU graduated five players for last year’s team.
“I want an up-tempo style of play, but I also want to be very physical,” Patel said. “I want our team to be known for their physicality and their toughness. We are going to take a lot of pride this year on the defensive end of the floor. I’m excited to see how that all comes together when we are ready to hit the floor. But I think fans are going to like the way we play.”
Oklahoma City returns two seniors, two juniors and three sophomores from last year’s squad, including Senior Guard Jamil Donovan, who started 26 of 27 games. Donovan led the Stars with 4.4 assists per game while posting 4.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Junior Forward Dorion Gigger posted an average of 5.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per outing. He ranked second on the team in blocks with 17.
“A kid that has been here for all four years, I look for Jamil Donovan to be a very big leader this year,” Patel said. “Then there is Dorion Gigger in his third year in the program. He’s tough, he’s physical, he rebounds, I love the way he plays. We are asking him to be a little more vocal and help step up and be a bigger leader.”