O'Colly's Top 5 OSU Guards of All Time

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Jul 7, 2010
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#3
The only player I would argue should be on there that isn't is John Lucas III.

And then get a few beers in me I might argue for JamesOn Curry - simply because he was one of my all-time favorites, not because I believe he is actually one of the all-time five greatest.
 
Dec 15, 2004
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#5
hard to make a list like that............how about one of the most underrated guards to play at OSU, Lorenza Andrews............and most overlooked single season team 1982-83????? Maybe I'm a bit biased........

If Joe Atkinson wouldn't have been lost for the year, the 82-83 team would have likely been a Final Four team...........before his injury (in four games), he was averaging 27/game and fit in perfectly with the veteran team which went on to win the Big 8 Tournament, with two wins over top-ten Missouri, a narrow road loss by 1 at Freedom Hall, and an unfortunate bad first-round matchup with a slow-down Princeton team (pre-shot clock era)............one of the most fun teams prior to Coach Sutton's era to ever play at Gallagher Hall
 

ScooberJake

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#6
Not a bad list. There is nothing more specific in the article than just "best OSU guards". Scoring guards? Point guards? All around? Team leaders?

In addition to Lucas and Rutherford, I would also argue for Mo Baker as someone who deserves strong consideration. He was a really great talent, a do-everything kind of player.
 
Jan 21, 2006
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#7
Not a bad list. There is nothing more specific in the article than just "best OSU guards". Scoring guards? Point guards? All around? Team leaders?

In addition to Lucas and Rutherford, I would also argue for Mo Baker as someone who deserves strong consideration. He was a really great talent, a do-everything kind of player.
If Gottlieb hadn't been voted into the Johnny Pittman Free Throw Hall of Fame, he might be on the list. Sean Sutton brought a lot of swagger.
 

casdas

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Bill Connors of the Tulsa World wrote an article about "OSU's Al-Time Basketball Team" that was published in a football program in about 1982. It provides great insight into some of the standout players from the dominant era of Iba's championship teams of the 1940s and 50s. The article is long, but if you read it, you'll find bits and pieces about not only guards, but players at every position. My takeaways are that Cecil Hankins was "a forward who could play guard", and that A.L. Bennett and Gale MacArthur were standout point guards who may have been overlooked. Anyway, I'll paste the article, and you can read it and decide for yourself.

All-Time OSU Cage has Glittering Names

by Bill Connors
Tulsa World

The week preceding his retirement in 1970, Henry Iba was asked if he would consider selecting an all-star team from the ranks of basketball players he coached during a legendary 36-year career at Oklahoma State University.

“I would never do that,” Iba said. “Our school had so many fine players, so many more than people recognized. It would be impossible to do justice to them.”

Iba was correct, of course. The 11 years since his retirement have not made the task less difficult, or less delicate. Comparing or rating players who competed in different eras under different rules and circumstances and against different competition guarantees nothing except debate.

Nevertheless, an all-time Oklahoma State team is offered. It is not an all-time Iba team. Those who played prior to Iba’s arrival in 1934 and all the post-Iba players who completed their eligibility by 1981 were considered. Iba’s input was confined, at his insistence, to commenting on those selected.

The selections are by the reporter. But opinions were altered and reinforced by consultations with former assistants to Iba and former players. Selections were based on all-around skills, value and performance.

There can be no controversy about one selection. No Oklahoma State all-star team would have credibility unless headed by Bob Kurland (1943-46), the tallest, most decorated and most productive player in the history of OSU and this state. Kurland belongs on a pedestal, by himself.

Joining Kurland on a six-man first team are:

Jesse “Cab” Renick (1939-40), Iba’s first superstar; James King (1963-65), Iba’s last superstar and perhaps the best all-purpose player in OSU history; Don Johnson (1950-52), probably the most talented player in OSU history; Cecil Hankins (1945), who had an abbreviated but sensational career; and A. L. Bennett (1946-48), a velvet-smooth operative whom Iba once said “never made a wrong move on the court.”

A six-man second team is comprised of Bob Harris (1947-49), Gale McArthur (1949-51), Bob Mattick (1952-54), Arlen Clark (1957-59), Jerry Adair (1957-59), and Larry Hawk (1963-65).

Priority was given to selecting the best players, regardless of position. But each of the above unitswould be compatible in a conventional forward-guard-center format. Renick, Johnson, Hankins, and Bennett were forwards who could play guard. Harris and Clark were centers who could play forward, and did in post-college careers.

Special recognition is given three players who in the opinion of respected voices deserve to be in the top 12. They are Dick Krueger (1936-38), Lonnie Eggleston (1940-42), and Mack Carter (1954-56).

It should not surprise that eight of the twelve honorees played between 1944 and 1954. That was Oklahoma State’s golden era. In the history of college basketball, only UCLA and Kentucky sustained for a decade the level of excellence Iba’s teams demonstrated from the 1943-44 season through the 1953-54 season.

In those 11 seasons, OSU won 81 percent of its games (272-64), won national championships in 1945 and 1946, was NCAA runnerup in 1949, ranked No. 1 in the polls and finished fourth in 1951, was an NCAA regional finalist in 1948, 1953, and 1954, and won eight Missouri Valley Conference championships. Eight of the Cowboys’ 14 All-Americ selections were crowned during this period.

The leading collector of these medals was Kurland. He was a consensus All-American three times and Helms Foundation’s player of the year in 1946. Led by Kurland, OSU was the first school to win successive national championships.

Kurland set an OSU record that has not been threatened by scoring 58 points against St. Louis in 1946, when his 19.5 average led the nation. His career total of 1,669 points is tops at OSU. His four-year scoring average was 14.1. In Kurland’s three years as a starter, OSU won 85 games and lost only 12, and 85 percent rate of success.
As basketball’s first seven-foot player, Kurland revolutionized the game. He was responsible for the banning of goaltending. Every man 6-10 or taller, who became famous or rich by playing basketball, is indebted to Kurland.

Kurland is a monument to Iba’s credo that work is rewarded with success. A clumsy youngster from Jennings, MO, Kurland spent his summers and holidays plus countless hours during the season developing the coordination and fundamentals that made him a dominating player at OSU and too him to AAU (then more attractive than playing professionally) and Olympics (1948 and 1952) fame and finally to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Kurland is an executive with Phillips Petroleum Co., and resides in Bartlesville.

Prior to Kurland, Iba’s most celebrated player was Renick. A Choctaw Indian from Marietta, Renick transferred to OSU from Murray Junior College in 1938.

Exceptionally fast, Renick was a shutout defender who averaged 9.1 points as a senior when OSU opponents averaged only 26 points. Renick made All-America twice and became the yardstick by which all other Aggie forwards were measured.

Renick had an outstanding AAU career and was captain of the 1948 U.S. Olympic team. He resides in Bartlesville, where he owns a bar.

Iba did not compare any forward with Renick until Johnson came dashing out of Chickasha a decade later. Hollywood handsome, Johnson was a marvelous athlete, who made All-America in 1952 when he averaged 14 points. But he may have had a better year as a junior in 1951 when he was the highest scoring non-center (421 points) to play for Iba. Aside form centers, Johnson was OSU’s leading scorer-rebounder of Iba’s regime.

A series of knee operations cut short Johnson’s AAU career. But shortly before his death in 1978, Bud Browning of Phillips 66 coaching fame said, “I doubt we ever had a more talented player than Johnson.”

Johnson, who owns an oil business on Denton, Texas, recalled Iba telling him in preseason of 1962 about a sophomore from New Orleans “who might become the best forward we’ve ever had.” Johnson concluded, “the kid might be something for Mr. Iba to say that before he ever plays.” King was something. He epitomized what Iba wanted: An unexcelled defender and rebounder; highly disciplined and accurate shooter, who rarely makes mistakes.

King’s best season as a three-year starter was his last, when he averaged 12.1, set a school rebounding record for non-centers (10.6 average) and led OSU to its only Big Eight championship.

King had a fine AAU career and played on the victorious 1968 Olympic team that Iba coached. King is employed by Goodyear in Detroit.

Among those consulted, a consensus of support developed for King, Renick, and Johnson to join Kurland on the all-time OSU team.

Some questioned whether Hankins should be selected since he played only one year with the varsity. A graduate of Zaneis, a consolidated school near Wilson, Hankins played on the freshman team before WWII. He spent time in the Army and at Southeastern State College, then returned to OSU and starred in football before playing for the 1945 national champions.

No one questioned Hankins’ ability. His achievements as a wingback on OSU’s most successful football teams and as a track sprinter document Hankins as one of the school’s best athletes, and he was the nonpareil of competitors.

Although Hankins said, “I could never shoot a lick,” he averaged 13.3 as a complement to Kurland and had a flair for peaking in the most important games. Iba said, “No one ever had a better year than Cecil.” Hankins, who plyed professionally for St. Louis and Boston, is assistant principal at Sand Springs High School.

Whether the sixth spot should go to Bennett or McArthur or Harris or Adair or Hawk is highly debatable. Each would give a distinctive look to any team. The basis for choosing Bennett was a record of leadership and winning he demonstrated throughout a career interrupted by World War II.

Bennett, Holdenville native, was a 1943 freshman classmate of Kurland’s. Bennett started before Kurland, entered the Army and served in Europe under Gen. George Patton, returned as a member of the 1946 national champions and was the floor leader around whom Iba built new national powers in 1947 and 1948. Bennett’s highest scoring average was 10.2 his junior year.

Bennett also played AAU basketball and is vice president of marketing of Williams PipeLine Co., in Tulsa.

McArthur became Iba’s only 400-point guard in 1951 when he made All-America on a team that probably was OSU’s deepest in quality players. McArthur of Mangum quarterbacked the 1951 Cowboys to 29 victories. Only the 1946 national champions (31-2) won more games.

Until 1951, Kurland was the only OSU player to score more than 400 points in a season. McArthur (408) and Johnson (421) gave the ’51 Cowboys the distinction of being the only OSU team, ever, to have two members crash the 400-point club. The late Eddie Hickey, Iba’s Hall of Fame coaching rival at St. Louis, admitted in 1951 that he “never expected to see Henry let two players shoot as much as McArthur and Johnson. But I guess he never had two like McArthur and Johnson.” The same year, Carroll Smelser, one of OSU’s best guards of the 30’s, called McArthur “the best guard Mr. Iba ever had.”

McArthur is a dentist in Ponca City.

Harris, 1949 All-America, was OSU’s best defensive center and best remembered for being on the winning side of four straight heralded duels with the fabled Ed Macauley of St. Louis. Harris, of Linden, Tenn., averaged 11.7 as a senior and played professionally for Boston. He is deceased.

Adair and Clark were the leaders of a crack recruiting class Iba assembled in 1955, following his first losing season. That class immediately returned OSU to a representative level.

Adair played only two seasons before becoming a record-setting second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. But longtime Iba watchers say no OSU guard ever pleased Iba as quickly or as much as Adair. Adair averaged 12.1. He is a security guard in Sand Springs, his hometown.

Iba regretted the 6-8 Clark had to play center when OSU was short on muscle and height and opponents were long on each. Clark might have been an All-America forward, Iba thought.

Despite playing out of position, the pure shooter from Colbert is in OSU’s record book for averaging 20.4 in 1959 and scoring 42 points against Colorado the same year. The figures were the third and second highest, respectively, in OSU history. Clark also set the school record for free throws by hitting 24 without missing in the same 1959 game against Colorado.

Clark played for the AAU 66ers and is employed by Phillips in Durant.

The 6-10 Mattick was the leading season (20.7) and career (16.0) scorer of Iba’s regime and made All-America in 1953 and 1954. Because the Chicago native did not match Kurland’s success, there is a tendency to underestimate his accomplishments and value. An otherwise experienced team that won 24 games and contended for the national championship in Mattick’s final year (1954) plunged OSU into Iba’s first losing season in 1955.

Mattick, who also played for Phillips, is in business in Baton Rouge, La.

Hawk was Iba’s highest-scoring guard for a season (13.9 in 1964) and a game (32 vs. Oklahoma in 1963). A pencil-thin blond from Enid, Hawk may also have been Iba’s quickest guard. He darted around Gallagher Hall like a roadrunner. He started for three years and is OSU’s only player to twice make All-Big Eight. Hawk farms near Beaver.

Whether the team was limited to five players or 12 or 50, valid arguments could be made for others. Krueger, Eggleston and Carter have impressive endorsements and credentials.

Danny Doyle, All-Missouri Valley Conference selection in 1940, said “you could take five Kruegers and beat five all-stars.” Doyle Parrack, who was a member of the ’45 championship team and coached on or against Iba’s last 20 teams, said Eggleston “was on the same level” with most of the all-stars.

Carter, nicknamed “Snake” because of his slippery moves around the basket, averaged 15 points in 1956, highest by a non-center in Iba’s time.

The debate will go on and on.

In explaining why he considered it impossible to select an all-OSU team, Iba rattled off names from George Stricklin, his first captain, and Merle Rousey, his first All-American, to Ed Odom, who became OSU’s all-time leading scorer in 1980. “We had so many fine players,” Iba said.

He reminisced about “hating to play a game without (J. L.) Parks”…and “not wanting to play against a zone without (Eddie) Sutton or (Gary) Hassmann”…and “how great it was to have players like (Jack) Shelton and (Norman) Pilgrim”…and “how I never coached Ab Wright but I saw him play and nobody was better”…and he would never forget Mel Wright for hitting a buzzer shot that toppled Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas…and…the honor roll is long.

HONORABLE MENTION

Jim Lookabaugh and George Connor, 1925; Ab Wright, 1928; George Stricklin, 1935; Merle Rousey and R. C. Cox, 1937; Dick Krueger and Merle Scheffler, 1938; Harvey Slade, 1940; Gene Smelser, 1941; Bud Millikan and Vernon Yates, 1943; Danny Doyle, 1944; Weldon Kern, Blake Williams, and Sam Aubrey, 1946; J. L. Parks, 1948; Jack Shelton, 1950; Norman Pilgrim, 1951; Tom Fuller, 1954; V. R. Barnhouse, 1956; Mel Wright, 1957; Cecil Epperley, 1962; Gary Hassmann, 1965; Kevin Fitzgerald, 1974; Ed Odom, 1980.
 
Nov 8, 2013
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#12
hard to make a list like that............how about one of the most underrated guards to play at OSU, Lorenza Andrews............and most overlooked single season team 1982-83????? Maybe I'm a bit biased........

If Joe Atkinson wouldn't have been lost for the year, the 82-83 team would have likely been a Final Four team...........before his injury (in four games), he was averaging 27/game and fit in perfectly with the veteran team which went on to win the Big 8 Tournament, with two wins over top-ten Missouri, a narrow road loss by 1 at Freedom Hall, and an unfortunate bad first-round matchup with a slow-down Princeton team (pre-shot clock era)............one of the most fun teams prior to Coach Sutton's era to ever play at Gallagher Hall
I loved watching that team. Seemed like first shot of the game was always Andrews from top of the key.

As for the list, I'd probably agree with the recommendation to include Rutherford. Sorry, so hard to compare Hankins. Probably worthy, but difficult to span eras like that.
 
Jul 7, 2010
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#13
Quick Google search produced this article from last year which ranked the top five players in program history...

https://www.foxsports.com/college-b...e-players-to-ever-play-for-the-cowboys-010817

I am sure this has been posted/discussed before... but a quick refresher of the list...

5. Marcus Smart
4. Desmond Mason
3. Byron Houston
2. Bryant Reeves
1. Bob Kurland

HM: John Lucas III, Joey Graham, James Anderson
 

Lab Rat

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Hard to me to buy a top 5 without Randy Rutherford on there.
Indeed, but as some have mentioned, a few other names that deserve consideration are Brooks Thompson, Maurice Baker, Markel Brown, Adrian Peterson, and John Starks*.

Based on Win Shares (Win Share data are available since 1995-96), Maurice Baker had the best single season for an OSU guard and James Anderson had two of the best four seasons.
http://cbbref.com/tiny/bZsXe
Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 2.50.26 PM.png



I bet few would guess the leader of career Win Shares among OSU guards since 1995-96. http://cbbref.com/tiny/pCDS3
Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 2.54.40 PM.png



If I had to choose only 5, I'd go with James Anderson, Tony Allen, Marcus Smart, Randy Rutherford, and Maurice Baker -- but it's really hard to leave off Brooks Thompson and JLIII, not to mention John Starks and the old-timers from the Iba era. Incidentally, my top 5 are the only OSU guards since 1992-93 to average ≥15 PPG and ≥5 RPG over their entire OSU careers.
http://cbbref.com/tiny/V777r
Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 4.11.45 PM.png




*Obviously, if we're judging by their post-OSU career, Starks would top the list, but he only played one year in Stillwater. Allen, Smart, Evans, JLIII, Thompson, and Baker each played only 2 seasons at OSU.
 

Lab Rat

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hard to make a list like that............how about one of the most underrated guards to play at OSU, Lorenza Andrews............and most overlooked single season team 1982-83????? Maybe I'm a bit biased........

If Joe Atkinson wouldn't have been lost for the year, the 82-83 team would have likely been a Final Four team...........before his injury (in four games), he was averaging 27/game and fit in perfectly with the veteran team which went on to win the Big 8 Tournament, with two wins over top-ten Missouri, a narrow road loss by 1 at Freedom Hall, and an unfortunate bad first-round matchup with a slow-down Princeton team (pre-shot clock era)............one of the most fun teams prior to Coach Sutton's era to ever play at Gallagher Hall
I'm too young to remember that team, but I enjoy hearing about it. Looking back at the stats, Lorenzo Andrews was really good, but Matt Clark was even better, statistically speaking (more assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, and better FG%):
Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 4.48.12 PM.png



Of course, Clark finished his OSU career as the highest scoring guard in OSU history (and 2nd highest overall, behind Bob Kurland). He's since been passed on the OSU scoring list by a number of guys, but he's at a disadvantage against more recent players due to the introduction of the 3-point line, shot clock, and more games per season.

Btw, Atkinson only scored 51 points in 4 games, so I think the 27 PPG number might be a little bit fuzzy. However, he did have a ridiculous 20 blocks in those same 4 games. That's insane.
 
Jul 7, 2010
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Tampa, FL
#16
Indeed, but as some have mentioned, a few other names that deserve consideration are Brooks Thompson, Maurice Baker, Markel Brown, Adrian Peterson, and John Starks*.

Based on Win Shares (Win Share data are available since 1995-96), Maurice Baker had the best single season for an OSU guard and James Anderson had two of the best four seasons.
http://cbbref.com/tiny/bZsXe
View attachment 59023


I bet few would guess the leader of career Win Shares among OSU guards since 1995-96. http://cbbref.com/tiny/pCDS3
View attachment 59022


If I had to choose only 5, I'd go with James Anderson, Tony Allen, Marcus Smart, Randy Rutherford, and Maurice Baker -- but it's really hard to leave off Brooks Thompson and JLIII, not to mention John Starks and the old-timers from the Iba era. Incidentally, my top 5 are the only OSU guards since 1992-93 to average ≥15 PPG and ≥5 RPG over their entire OSU careers.
http://cbbref.com/tiny/V777r
View attachment 59024



*Obviously, if we're judging by their post-OSU career, Starks would top the list, but he only played one year in Stillwater. Allen, Smart, Evans, JLIII, Thompson, and Baker each played only 2 seasons at OSU.
I was hoping you would get involved in this discussion! Good insight.
 
Nov 6, 2010
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#17
Indeed, but as some have mentioned, a few other names that deserve consideration are Brooks Thompson, Maurice Baker, Markel Brown, Adrian Peterson, and John Starks*.

Based on Win Shares (Win Share data are available since 1995-96), Maurice Baker had the best single season for an OSU guard and James Anderson had two of the best four seasons.
http://cbbref.com/tiny/bZsXe
View attachment 59023


I bet few would guess the leader of career Win Shares among OSU guards since 1995-96. http://cbbref.com/tiny/pCDS3
View attachment 59022


If I had to choose only 5, I'd go with James Anderson, Tony Allen, Marcus Smart, Randy Rutherford, and Maurice Baker -- but it's really hard to leave off Brooks Thompson and JLIII, not to mention John Starks and the old-timers from the Iba era. Incidentally, my top 5 are the only OSU guards since 1992-93 to average ≥15 PPG and ≥5 RPG over their entire OSU careers.
http://cbbref.com/tiny/V777r
View attachment 59024



*Obviously, if we're judging by their post-OSU career, Starks would top the list, but he only played one year in Stillwater. Allen, Smart, Evans, JLIII, Thompson, and Baker each played only 2 seasons at OSU.
The reason I never consider Baker is because he only had that one good season. When he came back from injury, he was a shell of his former self IIRC.

I'd be tempted to leave Smart off the list too. His game was all about strength and aggression, made up a lot for true basketball skills IMO, but he did get results.
 

ScooberJake

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#18
Bill Connors of the Tulsa World wrote an article about "OSU's Al-Time Basketball Team" ...

HONORABLE MENTION

... J. L. Parks, 1948; Jack Shelton, 1950; Norman Pilgrim, 1951; Tom Fuller, 1954; V. R. Barnhouse, 1956; Mel Wright, 1957; Cecil Epperley, 1962; Gary Hassmann, 1965; Kevin Fitzgerald, 1974; Ed Odom, 1980.
Woot! My uncle made that list.
 
Last edited:

Lab Rat

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The reason I never consider Baker is because he only had that one good season. When he came back from injury, he was a shell of his former self IIRC.

I'd be tempted to leave Smart off the list too. His game was all about strength and aggression, made up a lot for true basketball skills IMO, but he did get results.
I see your point, but I'll note that the "one good season" that Mo Baker had was in 2000-01, the year of the plane crash. The 13 games we played after Jan. 27, 2001 were some of the most important and emotional games in OSU history, including epic home wins against Missouri (first game after the tragedy) and OU. That season he led the Big 12 in points, offensive win shares, and total win shares. He finished in the top 10 in the Big 12 (when it really had 12 teams) in 20 statistical categories.
Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 11.19.35 AM.png


Now, if you're still not swayed by sentimental reasons, consider this last point. Maurice Baker is the only player from a power basketball conference (the P5 + Big East) since at least 1995-96 to post the following stat line:
19 PPG, 6 RPG, 4 APG, 2 SPG
http://cbbref.com/tiny/W4eD3

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 11.23.18 AM.png


Others who have done this in minor conferences include Dwyane Wade, Elfrid Payton, and Bonzi Wells.

In other words, Maurice Baker's 2000-01 season is one of the greatest individual seasons by any OSU basketball player ever. It's true that he was hampered by injury in his second (senior) season, but he still posted respectable numbers (12.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.3 SPG). He went on to have perhaps the greatest D-League career of all time, ending his career as the all-time leader in career games (319), minutes played (9,838), defensive rebounds (1,224), steals (430), as well as ranking third in assists (1,435).
http://www.sportsoutwest.com/2014/04/30/maurice-baker-legend-you-never-heard-of/

IMO, he definitely deserves a place among the greatest OSU guards of all time.