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October 3, 2013

Basketball practice begins at Tulsa

The Tulsa basketball team held its first team practice on Wednesday at the Reynolds Center in preparation for the 2013-14 season. Head Coach Danny Manning was pleased with the intensity.

"I thought practice went very well for us," said Manning. "I thought it had a lot of bounce, a lot of energy and paying attention to detail. We had some good carryover from meetings that we've had, and conditioning sessions. Overall, I thought it was a good first practice."

TU finished with a 17-16 in Manning's first season last year. They advanced to the semifinal round of the Conference USA Championship and reached the CBI postseason tournament.

The Hurricane returns eight players from last season, including 2013 C-USA All-Freshman selections James Woodard and D'Andre Wright. The Tulsa roster includes two scholarship seniors -- guards Tim Peete and Pat Swilling -- and just one junior in juco transfer wing Marquel Curtis.

Sophomore forward Rashad Smith returns after receiving a medical redshirt last season. Also in the sophomore class is forward Brandon Swannegan and guards Shaquille Harrison and Rashad Ray.

Aside from Curtis, Tulsa welcomes five other newcomers. They include sophomore junior college transfer forward Lew Evans and four freshmen in guard Stevie Repichowski and forwards TK Edogi, Emmanuel Ezechinonso and Riley Kemmer.

"The nice thing is, it's only new for the newcomers," said Manning. "Last year, it was new for everybody. It was new for the coaches and it was new for the players. This summer was very good because our returning players had a chance to bond with the newcomers and say, `This is what we do. This is how we do it. This is why we do it. This is how we work.' So, they helped establish the culture with our newcomers at an earlier stage in their careers here at TU.

"There has been a lot of good carryover from that. Today, especially in practice, I could see that -- returning players communicating with the newcomers."

Under new NCAA guidelines, programs get more practice time, and Coach Manning plans to use them wisely before the Hurricane has its exhibition game on October 31 against Haskell Indian Nations University.

"We have to touch on everything and be prepared for our first exhibition game, because we don't know what that team is going to do," he said. "It's our job to make sure our young men are prepared to go out and handle whatever they throw at us. So, in the course of that, we have a lot of things we need to get in and shore up. But the way it's set up now will give us a chance to be better prepared to start our game, with the new NCAA model where we get 30 days of practice out of 40 or 42."

TU will hold an open practice to the public from 12-1 p.m. Saturday at the Reynolds Center. The players will then sign autographs from 1:30-2 p.m. on Chapman Commons, prior to the Tulsa football game against Rice at 2:30 p.m.

The Golden Hurricane opens the basketball season Nov. 10 against cross-town rival Oral Roberts at 5 p.m. at the Reynolds Center.

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