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24 Oklahoma State A bigger lineup should help the Cowboys showcase their already stellar backcourt


Desmond Mason dunked for the first time at age 13, flushed a
reverse jam at 14 and vaulted over a 5'10" defender in high
school for a splay-legged stuff. These days the 6'6" senior
forward can reach 11'6" from a flat-footed start. Yet none of
those great leaps are as impressive as the one Mason's stock took
during last year's NCAAs, when he lit up Syracuse for 28 points
and then stung Auburn for 26 while holding the Tigers' Chris
Porter to nine. "Desmond has been a secret because we're in
Stillwater," says guard Joe Adkins, "but I don't think he will be

One of seven Cowboys seniors, Mason takes his hard-driving game
from the blocks to the wing this season as coach Eddie Sutton
shifts to a beefier look inside. "When you play with four guards,
which is basically what we had last year, then you're at a
disadvantage," says Sutton. "To be better, we need to go with a
bigger lineup." That means Sutton intends to always keep a pair
of true post players in the lineup, a task made easier by the
arrival of freshman Andre Williams, a 6'9" shot-blocking forward.

Besides Mason, though, the Cowboys' main strength is clearly
their backcourt rotation of seniors Adkins, Glendon Alexander
and point guard Doug Gottlieb. A splendid passer, Gottlieb led
the nation with 8.8 assists a game last season, but he was such
a poor shooter (31.4% from the field, 44.4% from the line) that
Sutton had to yank him at the end of games. After failed
attempts to change his luck--by bleaching his hair, wearing his
socks high, even singing a Garth Brooks song before free
throws--Gottlieb is hoping that visits to a sports shrink and
his dedication in the gym will turn him around. "I know I said
this last year, but I've worked so hard," he says. "I'll show I
have a well-rounded game."

If he does, the Cowboys might go further than the second round
of the NCAAs, where they've been edged by No. 1 seeds the past
two years. "It's time to do better," vows Mason. "Losing in the
second round is getting old."




SF Desmond Mason[1] 6'6" Sr. 15.4 ppg
PF Brian Montonati 6'9" Sr. 4.4 rpg
C Alex Webber[1] 6'10" Sr. 5.1 rpg
SG Joe Adkins[1] 6'2" Sr. 10.0 ppg
PG Doug Gottlieb[1] 6'1" Sr. 8.8 apg

1998-99 record: 23-11 Final rank (coaches' poll): unranked
Returning starter[1]