The ability to shoot and hit clutch shots hasn’t been enough for Tulsa in recent seasons.
Enter Brandon Betson. He should help change that.
Because Betson, a 6ft 1 combo guard, can light it up. Oh, and he’s proud to share the ball too.
Last season, in a tough year for overwhelmed Chicago State, Betson twice came through with game winners in the final seconds.
Most notably, a driving, contested layup with 2 seconds remaining against New Mexico State broke a tie to give Chicago State the late-season win in a game in which he scored 17 points. His knight in the suit with 3 seconds left against California Baptist also broke a tie.
The win over New Mexico State is notable considering New Mexico State won a first round NCAA tournament game against UConn a few weeks later.
For Chicago State last season, Betson was a second-team All-WAC selection, averaging 14.2 points, 2.8 assists, 2.4 rebounds and shooting 37 percent on three-pointers while playing 34.5 minutes per game .
Betson’s trip to Tulsa was long. Based out of Hercules, California, part of the San Francisco Bay Area and located 10 miles north of Berkeley, Betson went to Jucos at San Bernardino College (California) and Daytona State (Florida) for one year each before landing in Chicago State in 2021.
Considering Chicago State finished 0-9 in the year prior to his arrival and had won a total of 7 games in the previous two seasons, Chicago State was clearly in for a tough year. So the 7-25 in 2021 was indeed a significant improvement with Betson there.
“Lance Irvin was at Chicago State, but when I got there he was fired, so I wondered what would happen to my scholarship,” Betson said. “Coach (Gerald) Gillion, he’s my man forever, he gave me a chance and I just took it.”
But despite his great relationship with his coach, the situation was so up in the air for the Chicago State program that Betson thought it best to enter the transfer portal.
“There was a fair amount of insecurity in Chicago State,” Betson said. “They didn’t have a conference, they just withdrew from WAC. Our athletic director resigned. I didn’t want to be put in a position with a lot of things that I couldn’t control.”
So what was it about TU that made getting Betson a winner?
“The conference, Coach Konkol and some of the guys that they have here like Sam Griffin,” Betson said. “I feel like Sam and I can improve each other a lot and great things can happen here.
“I love the competition in this conference, the American conference has some of the best guards.”
Betson is one of three players who can take on point guard duties, along with Griffin and Anthony Pritchard starting at the position. Pritchard mostly played point guard, while Betson and Griffin played over the ball most of the time.
“I’m a point guard but my shooting can make me play anywhere,” Betson said. “The best thing about my game is getting my teammates involved. Just being a constant threat.”
Life in Tulsa is very different from his sojourns on the coasts and the Windy City. But the TU should not have to worry about one thing: academics.
As a business administration major, Betson has academics covered. It started with him growing up at home.
“The lessons are going well. Everyone told me it was going to be tough, but my mom has stressed out about school since I was young,” Betson said. “She was a teacher and is now the principal of the middle school.”
With the level of play being significantly raised at TU, Betson sees a lot more competition in training every day.
“I have to fight every day,” said Betson. “That’s actually what I’m most excited about because it made me a better player.”
In five games this season, Betson is one of TU’s first non-substitute players, but he has also started a game. He averages 11.4 points and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 38.1 percent from beyond the arc and 78.6 percent from the free throw line.