Paced by the return of leading scorers Ben Uzoh and Jerome Jordan, the Golden Hurricane is poised to pick up this season where it left off. Tulsa went 25-11 last year and reached the second round of the NIT.
That continues a string of three straight 20-win seasons under head coach Doug Wojcik, who recently received a six-year contract extension. Wojcik has won 81 games in his first four years on the job, and he already ranks sixth on the school's all-time coaching wins list.
His last two teams won 25 games -- a first in school history -- and made consecutive appearances in the Conference USA championship game. The 2008 team went 25-14 and won the inaugural postseason College Basketball Invitational title.
Four starters and seven lettermen return from a Hurricane team that finished in second place in the C-USA regular season with a 12-4 record. Uzoh, a senior guard, led the team in scoring (14.0) and assists (3.6). Jordan, a senior center, averaged 13.8 points and a team-high 8.6 rebounds.
"We have our most experienced team returning, we have some depth and potentially we have a favorable schedule that gives us some national exposure," Wojcik said.
Tulsa returns 81 percent of its scoring and 82 percent of its rebounding from last season, and Uzoh and Jordan both earned all-conference honors last season.
• Senior center Jerome Jordan enters the 2009-10 season with 251 career blocked shots and needs just 15 more to set the school's all-time record and 63 to establish the C-USA career record. Jordan also ranks 11th on Tulsa's all-time rebounding chart (667). He ranked among the nation's leaders in 2008-09 for three categories -- including 19th for blocked shots per game (2.5), 22nd for field-goal percentage (58.6) and 50th for rebounds per game (8.6).
• Senior guard Ben Uzoh became just the fourth player in school history and the second-fastest to reach the career plateaus for 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists and 100 steals. He has 1,417 career points, 542 rebounds, 262 assists and 128 steals.
• The Golden Hurricane ranked second nationally in 2008-09 for 3-point defense, allowing its opponents to shoot just 27.7 percent.
Last Year: 25-11 overall, 12-4 in C-USA; Lost in second round of NIT.
Head Coach: Doug Wojcik (career 81-53); Fifth season overall and at Tulsa.
Quote to Note: "Naturally, we're excited. We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity, as a coach, to be as involved as we are at The University of Tulsa and within the city of Tulsa. Tulsa is a great job and a wonderful place to raise a family." -- Coach Doug Wojcik on receiving a six-year contract extension.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Scouting The Newcomers: A pair of highly touted freshmen add immediate depth to the backcourt. PG Donte Medder out of Mesa, Ariz., was considered one of the nation's top point guards by ESPN.com, ranking No. 14 on the list. F/G Bryson Pope (6-6, 205) entered his senior season as one of the state of Oklahoma's top players and claimed the Tulsa World Oklahoma player of the year award.
Key Early-season Games: Regional rival and Big 12 power Oklahoma State travels to Tulsa for a matchup at the Reynolds Center on Dec. 2. Florida International, under first-year coach and NBA legend Isiah Thomas, visits the Hurricane on Nov. 15. A trip to the Las Vegas Classic opens with another Big 12 team, Nebraska, on Dec. 22.
Program Direction: Tulsa is coming off its third straight 20-win season, including back-to-back seasons with 25 wins and postseason berths. With four starters and seven letter winners returning, head coach Doug Wojcik and his team have earned some recognition. Two early preseason polls, ESPN.com and The Sporting News, have Tulsa in the top 25.
• Junior guard Justin Hurtt gave Tulsa another scoring threat in 2008-09, as he scored in double digits in 17 of the final 26 games as a sophomore.
• Sophomore forward Steven Idlet is coming off a solid showing at the Conference USA tournament. As a freshman, Idlet played 17.0 minutes in the three games and averaged 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds, while shooting 54 percent from the field.
• Guard Scottie Haralson transferred to Tulsa from Connecticut. Haralson will sit out the 2009-10 season and have three years of eligibility remaining when he becomes eligible.
• Forward D.J. Magley transferred to TU from Western Kentucky. Magley will sit out the 2009-10 season and have two years of eligibility remaining when he becomes eligible.