For the past several basketball seasons Rolando De La Barrera has been a very busy man.
He was the head coach of both the Western Oklahoma State College men’s and women’s basketball teams.
This year it will be different. De La Barrera will coach only the men.
“I think coaching the one team will allow me to channel all my energy toward one goal,” De La Barrera said.
The Pioneers look to be an improved team and De La Barrera broke down the team position by position.
“I think we have made some improvement from last year,” De La Barrera said.
At the point guard Sterling Thomas (5-11, 180 Fr.) from Elgin, a good offensive player should give the Pioneers quality at that position.
Jedarian Jackson (6-3, 200, Soph.), Kissimee Fla. played the number two guard and bigger things are expected out of him. “I think it will be a much better version than the Jedarian Jackson of last year,” De La Barrera said.
Mitchell Dometrey, 5-10, 170 freshman from Oklahoma City should give help to the position.
“We’re deep in forwards,” De La Barrera said. “We have definitely upgraded.”
D’Audrio Patten, 6-5, 215 pound sophomore, Ruston La., returns from last year’s 14-17 team and give some help at the forward position. “He’s also a much better version of himself,” De La Barrera said.
Dii Joh Allen-Gordon, (6-6, 185, Fr.), Plainsfield, N.J. is considered is considered to be a Division I prospect. “He plays hard and appears in a lot of the stat columns,” De La Barrera said.
Big things are expected from Jalen Chapman, 6-6, 215, Bronx, N.Y., who should give depth to the position.
Thomas Pierre Lewis, 6-8, 235, North Miami Beach, Fla.; Jose Santos, 6-7, 220, St. Croix, Virgin Island, and Shakora, Grant, 6-8, Soph., Philadelphia, are the prospects.
Style of Play
It will be a team that likes to get up and down the floor while occasionally applying a full court press. “Barring injuries we should be in a high tempo. We have the ability to run but we’re going to be selective with the press,” De La Barrera said.
The injury bug has already struck the Pioneers. Najee Senior, 6-1, 190, Bronx, N.Y. who was seeing significant playing time at guard in the scrimmages is out for the season due to an ACL injury.
The outlook is bright. “I like the people on this team,” De La Barrera said. “Sometimes you take it for granted that coaches are supposed to like players. But that’s not necessarily so. The kids on this team I generally like, good guys, very low maintenance guys that are here for the right reasons. They want to go to school, they want to advance from here and get scholarships. We have a lot of those guys on the team. Our starting five are really solid. We go to the six, seven, eight spots, they are really solid. We can be in a game with almost everybody when we are playing well.”
Last year the Pioneers lost five games in the last minute because De La Barrera said the team didn’t know how to finish. He is looking for improvement in that area this season.
“This year we have a little bit more talent,” De La Barrera said. “We can go to guys that have individual skills and they are going to make something happen.”
The Pioneers open their season Thursday at Southwest Christian College, at Dallas.
James Pendleton, 5-10, 160 PG, Oklahoma City
Dii Joh Allen-Gordon, 6-6, 185, SF, Plainsfield, N.J., Fr,
Jedarian Jackson, 6-3, 200, SG, Kissimmee, Fla., Soph,
Shadee Mahammed, 6-1, 175, SG, Wichita Falls, Texas, Fr.
Cameron Haley, 6-1, 180, G, Los Angeles, Fr,
Stirling Thomas, 5-11, G, 180, Elgin, Fr.
Shakore Grant, 6-8, 180, SF-PF, Philadelphia, Soph.
Jalen Chapman, 6-7, 215, SF-PF, Bronx N.Y., Fr.
Teran Watson, 6-5, 215, PF, Nassau, Bahamas, Fr.
Tony Evans, 6-4, 220, SF-PF, Oklahoma City, Soph.
Mitchell Dometrey, 5-10, 170, PG, Oklahoma City, Fr.
D’ Audrio Patten, 6-5, 215, Ruston, La., Soph.
Derrick Allen, 6-0, 185, SG, Oklahoma City, Soph.
J.R. Jose Santos, 6-7, 220, PF, St. Croix, Virgin Island, Fr.
Thomas Pierre-Louis, 6-8, 235, PF-C, North Miami Beach, Fla. Soph.
Dakari Mao, 6-8, 200, PF, Bronx, N.Y. Fr.
Najee Senior, 6-1, 190, SG-PG, Bronx, N.Y, Fr.
Dallas Smith, 6-2, 180, G, Altus, Fr.
November - 1, at Southwestern Christian, Dallas, 7:30 p.m.; 3, Midland College, Texas/Oklahoma Challenge at Weatherford, Texas, 7:45 p.m.; 4, Clarendon College, Texas/Oklahoma Challenge, 7 p.m.; 6, At Wayland Baptist JV, 6 p.m.; 8, Southwestern Christian, here, 8 p.m.; 9, at Mid America, OKC, 7 p.m.; 11, Tinker AFB, here, 2 p.m.; 14, at Oklahoma Weslyan JV, Bartlesville, 5:30 p.m.; 17, Carl Albert, here, 6 p.m.; 19, at Lubbock Christian JV, 7 p.m.; 27, at Redlands, El Reno, 8 p.m.; 29, at NEO, Miami, 8 p.m.
December -2, Tinker AFB, here, 4 p.m.; 4, at Southwestern Christian, Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.
January - 7, Seminole, here, 8 p.m.; 10, at Northern-Tonkawa, 8 p.m.; 14, Northern-Enid, here, 8 p.m.; 17, at Eastern, 8 p.m.; 21, at Connors, 8 p.m.; 24, Murray State, here, 8 p.m.; 31, Redlands, here, 8 p.m.
February -2, at Carl Albert, 6 p.m.; 4, NEO, here, 8 p.m.; 7, at Seminole, 8 p.m.; 11, Northern-Tonkawa, here, 8 p.m.; 18, at Northern-Enid, 8 p.m.; 21, Eastern, here, 8 p.m.; 25, Connors, here, 8 p.m.; 28, at Murray State, 8 p.m.