The Tulsa Golden Hurricane defeated the Panhandle State Aggies 113-70 on Sunday and let me assure you, the only reason the Aggies scored 70 points was because the Golden Hurricane was downright tired from scoring so much. The game was more of a wind-sprints practice, which in the end, embodied any regular day practices that new head coach Danny Manning has been implementing.
It was obvious when Manning arrived at Tulsa that he would try to insert the Bill Self mentality on this Golden Hurricane basketball team which consists of fast breaks and quick points. Many people assumed it would take a while for Manning to implement this strategy with a new, rebuilding team. But that was not the case on Sunday when the Golden Hurricane took on their new identity.
I am not denying the fact that the Golden Hurricane smothered a team who only won three games in division 2 basketball last year, but I am saying that the Golden Hurricane showed the Memphis Tigers that Conference USA is not a pushover league this season as the Tigers assume based on their upcoming move next year to the Big East Conference.
Tulsa runs the court fast and efficiently which creates open shots against any opponent they play. Freshman James Woodard is proving to be a leader of the Golden Hurricane team who put six players in double figure scoring Sunday with their fast break style of play. It is also an added benefit when you can kick the ball out to Scottie Haralson who has previous experience playing in the NCAA Final Four with the Connecticut Huskies.
Haralson reminds me a lot of Derek Fisher. Haralson handles the ball well in transition looking to get his teammates involved, while at the same time possessing the confidence that he can knock down a mid-range shot with ease. Haralson is also the guy a team wants to have the ball with the game on the line.
Last season, he led Conference USA with 90 three-pointers and 17 double-digit scoring games. Many coaches in Conference USA say that Haralson is one of the top shooters in the nation. He definitively deserves that recognition and will help the Golden Hurricane in being more competitive this season.