With the season less than two weeks away, we’re going into full season mode at OVC Ball. We’ll regularly break down the top three storylines in the OVC in a new feature called the “OV3”
Cameron Payne officially made his NBA regular season debut last night for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The former Murray State guard and number 14 overall pick in this summer’s NBA draft didn’t take a shot, but did have three assists and a steal in the 117-93 win. Payne had been inactive in the Thunder’s first two games, but new head coach Billy Donovan tells the NewsOK it’s not about Payne’s ability. “I think Cam is going to be a terrific player and he can help us this year,” Donovan said. “I do think that Cam has gotta be an important part of this team. I have to find a way as a coach to help him get minutes, to help him develop and grow.”
Exhibition play gets underway tonight in the OVC, with Austin Peay in action. We’ve posted the full exhibition schedule here. It’s hard to judge a team by an exhibition game, as the talent level of a non Division-I team can vary greatly. Even a loss doesn’t necessarily mean anything; last season, UAB lost to UNC Pembroke in an exhibition game, and made it to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Of course, Memphis also lost to Christian Brothers last year in an exhibition game, and their year didn’t go so hot.
Austin Peay is officially in a rut, coming off four straight losing seasons. If this season is going to be a success, it’s going to be in large part to Chris Horton. The fine folks at mid-major madness agree with me, naming Horton one of their top mid-major big men to watch. Horton’s going to need some help to get Austin Peay back into the mix in the West Division, but he’s a big man who will continue to make a big impact in the OVC.
BONUS: Murray State has picked up a verbal commitment from Dondre Griffin. Here’s a little about him.