With Brian Williams done for the season Oklahoma State senior wing Jéan-Paul Olukemi will be a key figure for the Cowboys this season on both ends of the floor.
But as a result of a left knee injury he suffered in the first half of the Cowboys’ game against Akron at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off fans of the program may be a bit nervous.
The injury occurred in the final minute of the first half on a drive to the basket and according to ESPN announcer Doug Sherman, Olukemi was on the bench with ice on his left knee during the second half.
There’s been no word on the severity of the injury yet, but according to the Daily O’Collegian head coach Travis Ford said on his postgame radio show that “it doesn’t look good for J.P. right now.”
Olukemi received a full year of eligibility this season after it was feared that junior college courses taken during his high school years started his five-year “clock” and would in turn end his Cowboy career.
After leading by as many as nine in the second half, the Cowboys eventually needed overtime to beat the Zips 69-65.
Le’Bryan Nash led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Marcus Smart tallied 16 points and a team-high nine rebounds for the Cowboys. Also of note was freshman guard Phil Forte, who scored six of his eight points in overtime.
Oklahoma State will play the winner of Tennessee/UNC Asheville in the semifinals on Friday.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.