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Season starts for Curtis Osceola, OCU basketball

The 2017-18 Oklahoma City University men’s basketball team, which includes Seminole Tribal member Curtis Osceola (20), opened its season Oct. 28. (Photo courtesy Oklahoma City University Athletics)

Plenty of new faces, including the Seminole Tribe’s Curtis Osceola, are part of the 2017-18 Oklahoma City University men’s basketball team whose season was slated to start Oct. 28 against Manhattan Christian in Kansas.

Six of the nine new players are guards, including Osceola, who finished his high school career at Anadarko last winter. Osceola earned honorable mention all-state.

OCU is coming off a successful year last season when the squad won 21 games, ascended to as high as No. 5 in NAIA Division I and reached the NAIA postseason for the third straight year. But the injury bug bit the team late in the season leading to an early exit from the tournament.

“The big thing for us this year is trying to stay healthy,” coach Vinay Patel said on the team’s web site. “We were very pleased with the year we had a year ago, but had some misfortunate injuries to two major players for us. You almost get a sense of ‘hey, if we stayed healthy could it have been better?’ or not.”

OCU plays in the Sooner Athletic Conference, which includes No. 1 nationally -ranked Texas Wesleyan. OCU started the season ranked No. 12 and was picked to finish second in the SAC preseason coaches poll.

“I’m excited that the coaches think that highly of our program because that is a true coaches poll, but that’s not very indicative of how teams will finish this year,” Patel said.

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