Skip to main content
Original Issue

20 Tulsa Lacking big names and big players, the Golden Hurricane gets the job done by sticking together

After playing in a high school all-star game in the spring of
1999, Antonio Reed and Dante Swanson, two Oklahoma natives who
had signed with Tulsa, learned that they were related. "We went
into the stands and saw our parents talking to one another," Reed
says. "We didn't know why until they asked, 'Did y'all know you
were cousins?'" The two have since become close, and they've
extended that bond to the other members of the team. Together the
group has won 85 games at Tulsa over the past three years--a
total second only to Duke's--despite having three different

With four starters returning from last year's 27-7 WAC
championship team, there's every reason to believe that the
winning will continue. "It's a tremendous help to know your
teammates so well," says Swanson. "We all agreed that we would
stick together no matter what, and it's paid off." Good chemistry
is especially critical for a team on which no one is taller than
6'8". Tulsa compensates for its lack of size with one of the best
up-tempo attacks in the country. Four players made more than 36%
of their three-point attempts last season, including Swanson, who
sank a nation's best 49.0% from behind the arc, including an
eye-popping 56.9% in conference play. His cousin Antonio, a 5'10"
jitterbug who was fourth in the WAC last season in assists (4.1 a
game), takes over at the point full time now that Greg Harrington
has graduated.

The Golden Hurricane, which was often pushed around in the paint
last season, must shore up its deficiencies inside. The greatest
burden falls on 6'8" senior forward Kevin Johnson, the team's
leading scorer last season (14.5 points a game) and a preseason
favorite for WAC player of the year. Johnson, who was
homeschooled from fourth grade until college, improved his
perimeter shooting in the off-season, but he will still have to
spend the bulk of his time down low.

There might not be many recognizable names among Tulsa's five
seniors, but they're winners. "We can't even imagine not being
successful," Johnson says. "With the team we have this year,
there's no reason we shouldn't be." --S.D.

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO ON TOP Swanson, the nation's top three-point shooter in '01-02, also had a hand in Tulsa's swarming, smothering D.



SF Marqus Ledoux 6'8" Sr. 4.4 ppg
PF Kevin Johnson 6'8" Sr. 14.5 ppg
C Charlie Davis 6'7" Sr. 6.7 rpg
SG Dante Swanson 5'10" Sr. 11.6 ppg
PG Antonio Reed 5'10" Sr. 4.1 apg

Returning starter

2001--02 RECORD: 27-7 (15-3, T1 in WAC)
TOURNAMENT: Lost to Kentucky in 2nd round

Percentage of scoring that Golden Hurricane brings back from last
year's team, which earned a share of the WAC title.


The Golden Hurricane love to play up-tempo from end to end

"Their strength is on the perimeter. All of their guards can play
any position in the backcourt.... Kevin Johnson might be the most
underrated player in the country. He's extremely athletic and a
very quick jumper. That makes him play taller than he is....
Their lack of size should be a weakness, but it hasn't hurt them
much. Offensive rebounding must be a major emphasis against
them.... Antonio Reed made a lot of clutch shots for them last
year. He's proved he can shoot the three, so teams will have to
make him put it on the floor more this year.... They want the
tempo to be fast. They'll run as much after made baskets as
missed ones. You can't turn the ball over to them in the
half-court, or they'll make you pay.... A team that can match up
with their guards will frustrate them more than anything."