Something was missing last season for the Bison.

They had the standard 20-something wins and the success in the NAIA Tournament, reaching the quarterfinals – an average year for the OBU men.

Something was missing last season for the Bison.
They had the standard 20-something wins and the success in the NAIA Tournament, reaching the quarterfinals – an average year for the OBU men.
But the offense was not quite up to the standard for the men in green. A low for the Doug Tolin era, the offensive output was also as low as it had been since 1985.
The defense, however, was terrific – allowing just over 63 points per game. That’s the best scoring defense in Tolin’s time as coach and the best since 1967.
“We were not very good offensively last season and fortunately we were a good defensive team,” Tolin said. “The object this year is to keep that (defense) and get better offensively. We’ve got several guys and improved players that I think will help us play faster and be more productive. We were not very good in transition last year so we slowed things down.”
A group of nine returning players, including two redshirt freshmen, matches up with five newcomers for what could be a special season.
Returning guards Brent Jones, Justin Williams, Heath McKay, Emmanuel Wilson and Tyler Parker are joined in the backcourt by Derieck Mosbey and Garrett Steinmetz this season.
Jones, an honorable mention All-America last season, led the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game. “Brent has a different gear than most guys in the league,” Tolin said. “Maybe we started using him right in the last six games or maybe he figured it out. We spent a lot of last season getting to know each other as a team. But he played his best games in the last six games of the season and he has a chance to be a really good player. He’s got to make other players better by using his ability to get in and get the ball to them.”
Williams, who will be forever remembered for his game-winning shot against Auburn Montgomery in the NAIA Tournament last season, will make a bid to get more time this year.
“Justin has improved a lot since the spring,” Tolin said. “There were some games he was really good in last year. He’s worked hard at being more consistent throughout.”
Parker is back for his third season, while McKay and Wilson, who spent last year learning the ropes, are ready to start their college careers.
“Tyler is the hardest worker on the team and really cares about the program and his teammates,” said Tolin. “Emmanuel has come a really long way. He’s going to surprise some people. He’s going to play and contribute, as will Heath. Heath will be a good solid backup for Brent.”
The new guards – Steinmetz and Mosbey – offer contrasting styles. Steinmetz is 6-6 and Mosbey 6-1.
“Garrett is a really good player. He’s coming off shoulder surgeryand that takes a while to get back from. We’re lucky to have him,” said Tolin. “Derieck was a good player at Chabot in  junior college.”
The front court was home to some strong defense last year, but this year’s team could get its points as well. Charles Carter, Al Moore, Mirko Vojinovic and Aaron Perez are joined this season by Cicero Gonzaga, Nate Brumfield and Hayden Blessing.
Charles Carter showed his full range of ability in the season finalelast season and was fourth in the nation in blocked shots.
“Charles was defensively a solid player,” said Tolin. “I think that last game against Campbellsville has inspired him. He played well offensive lyand defensively. He went to the Pete Newell Big Man Camp and he’s been working hard to get better.”
Moore was the scoring threat inside, averaging 10.3 points.  “Al was probably the most productive post man,” Tolin said. “He might get outsized in there but there won’t be anyone that out-athletes him.”
Perez could contribute in the post, but has displayed the range in the offseason that might get him a look from outside the paint. He averaged 8.4 points last season.
“Aaron is working on being more consistent,” said Tolin. “He had some really good games last year He’s set a goal to lead the league in offensive rebounds and I think that’s a pretty good goal for him to shoot for.”
OBU 7-footer Vojinivoc looks to make a bigger impact this season.
“Mirko has gotten better. He has something no one has. He was behind the other guys last year, but that doesn’t mean he is automatically playing behind them this year,” Tolin said.
Gonzaga will try to work his angular frame inside for points while being an imposing defensive threat. “Cicero is a really good player and he comes from a very good junior college program,” said Tolin. “He can score in the paint or step back and hit threes.”
Brumfield may be the crown jewel of the recruiting class, but he won’t be unveiled right away. “We don’t get Nate until Dec. 20. We hope he is the scorer that he has been everywhere he has been before,” Tolin said. “He can put it on the floor and score in the paint. He can really help our team.”
Blessing is a freshman from Pottsboro, Texas, and may take a redshirt this season.
“Hayden is working with us and trying to make the team better,”
said Tolin.
The Bison will have the task of coming together quickly with 22 Sooner Athletic Conference games again starting in the fall semester.
“It’s an amazing league,” said Tolin. “It’s gotten better every year. Obviously, Oklahoma City is still the top dog, but when you look at the new people, new coaches, new gyms around the league – it’s getting harder and harder.”
With fewer at-large bids to the national tournament this season, it will be tough on the rough and tumble SAC to get its usual four or five teams to Kansas City, but once there, Tolin pointed out, the sky is the limit.
But fans with high expectations will need to be patient with the Bison. “We obviously want to go farther. We’ve got guys on the team that we think can get us where we want to go, but this isn’t fantasy football where you just choose your players and watch them go,” Tolin said. “This team could really be good, but this team hasn’t done anything yet.”