Wale Ogunoye the basketball player does not begin to scratch the surface of Wale Ogunoye the man.

A pre-med major who says he will take the MCAT after this season, the fifth-year senior has plenty to look forward to in life after his final season with Tarleton State.

But Ogunoye, a 6-foot, 6-inch center from Cedar Hill, says there are still plenty more memories to be made on the court this season, which tips off Saturday when Tarleton State hosts Arlington Baptist at 7 p.m.

When head men's basketball coach Lonn Reisman introduced Ogunoye and the rest of the 2010-11 Texans at the monthly Texan Club luncheon Tuesday, Ogunoye danced, something Reisman says he never would have done as a freshman.

Indeed, getting comfortable at Tarleton was something that took Ogunoye time.

"My first two weeks of school I almost broke down," Ogunoye said. "Playing college basketball is like a full-time job and I didn't think I could do it. The only way I made it was by praying.

"It wasn't even the first week of off-season running and it was tough. I suffered from full body cramps," he continued. "But I learned to take care of my body. I changed the way I eat, sleep, everything. And I still had to find time to study."

Ogunoye must have found time to study, because he was a member of the Lone Star Conference South Division All-Academic Team in 2008-09 and made the Commissioner's Academic Honor roll in 2009-10.

"Study hall has helped me a lot," he said. "It's kept me up on my schooling."

On the court, Ogunoye has primarily served Tarleton as a rugged defender and rebounder, a smart player familiar with Reisman's system who can eat up quality minutes.

He averaged 24.2 minutes per game last year, appearing in all 32 contests while averaging 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds.

Ogunoye's trademark move is stepping through the lane to fire a right-handed hook shot.

"That's been my go-to shot," he said. "I'm working on adding a left-hand hook shot to go with it."

A left-handed hook would make Ogunoye effective on both sides of the basket, stepping either away from the goal to the baseline, or into the middle of the paint, tools that could increase his scoring productivity.

If the big-man's scoring doesn't increase, it could be because minutes are likely to be split between up to six post players this year.

"The depth down low is really good now," Ogunoye said. "Last year we had no depth at all inside. It was basically just me and Jeremiah (Wilson) and Donta (Smith). Warren (Webb) was having to play the four (power forward) at times, and he's a guard.

"This year we have a lot of big men and that will help keep us fresh throughout the season."

Ogunoye knows power forward Donta Smith will benefit from being back in the program a second year. Ditto for standout guards Corin Henry and Devon Hills, among others who are returning players.

"Your second year in this program you always grow so much," he said. "All the players I've known who have had a second year here have been a lot more comfortable on the court and a lot more comfortable with Coach (Reisman) and his expectations."

Ogunoye knows what Reisman's expectations are this year, and has bought in to doing the things necessary to meet them.

"We want to win the national title," he said. "We've been to the round of 32, and we went to the round of 16 (in 2007-08). Now we want to go to the national championship."

Tarleton has played in every round of the Division II playoffs except the championship, reaching seven regionals, three regional finals (sweet 16), two Elite Eights and one Final Four over the past nine seasons.

Ogunoye believes this group of Texans has the potential to make his final season a special one.

"I can see us being really good," Ogunoye said. "I know if we keep going hard we can make it far. I wasn't happy at all with the way last season ended, especially losing four times to Midwestern. I know we can do better this year."

The big man can't wait to get the journey started as the Texans move from preseason to regular season mode this weekend.

"I'm real hungry," he said. "I know we have the potential to be really good and I'm  ready to get it rolling."