McCants, Dechert, Kamangila, Saladino to ORU HofF

Oral Roberts University will induct four former athletes in ORU Athletic Hall of Fame at halftime of the men’s basketball game this Saturday. The Golden Eagles are set to take on IUPUI in a game that will tip off at 3 p.m. The 2017 induction class includes Sam McCants, Charleton Dechert, Faithy Kamangila and Tyler Saladino.

Former men’s basketball star Sam McCants was an All-American and NABC All-District selection. McCants (1973-74) played just one season at ORU but made his mark as the leading scorer on the squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight that season. He averaged 24.0 points, 7.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds while guiding ORU to a 23-6 record. His 697 points was the second-best total in the history of the school at the time and is still fifth in the ORU record books. McCants ranks among the ORU single season top 10 in assists, points, field goals, and field goal attempts.

McCants has a bit of a confusing story as to when he graduated from high school, what happened at Florida State before transferring to ORU, and how was he eligible for the NBA Draft in 1974.

Some sources have McCants in his senior year at Pensacola Catholic High School in 1970-71, and others say he left high school in 1970. If he graduated in 1970, he wouldn’t have been eligible for the 1974 NBA Draft, however, McCants was the eighth-round selection by Chicago in 1974, and was drafted again in 1975 in the fourth round by Phoenix. He was also selected in the fourth round of the 1974 ABA Draft by the Utah Stars. There is some evidence that McCants was with the ABA Spirits of St. Louis during the preseason.

After high school, apparently, McCants enrolled at Florida State (1971-72) but did not play in any games. He then transferred to ORU and had to sit out the 1972-73 season, before playing the next year.

He never played in the NBA as he was released by Phoenix during the preseason in 1975.

Another inductee will be Charleton Dechert; a member of the men’s golf team (1998-2001). Dechert was a two-time Mid-Continent Conference individual champion, winning medalist honors in both 2000 and 2001. He captured six individual championships during his career and helped lead ORU to four consecutive Mid-Con championships and NCAA Regional appearances. During the 2001 NCAA Regional, Dechert finished sixth overall to advance to the NCAA National Championship. He owns four of the top 12 lowest season scoring averages in school history and owns the fourth lowest three-round tournament score in school history at 207.

Dechert competed in the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, and missed the cut finishing at 10-over after two rounds.

Former women’s track and cross country runner Faithy Kamangila was named Summit League Runner of the Year three times (2004, 2005, 2007) and was also the 2004 Newcomer of the Year. She holds the second fastest 6,000-meter time in conference history at 20:44.43 and holds three of the top 10 fastest 6,000-meter times in conference history. She set a league record with 15 career Athlete of the Week honors and was one of only three athletes to win a single event four times. In the history of the Summit League, Kamangila is the only NCAA qualifier in the 5,000-meter run. She won 12 total event championships, including five indoor, four outdoor and three cross country championships.

After transferring from Palomar College, Tyler Saladino played only one season with the ORU baseball team, and was selected in the seventh round of the 2010 amateur draft by the Chicago White Sox.

During his time at ORU, Saladino was the 2010 Summit League Newcomer of the Year and the Summit League Player of the year. During that season, Saladino hit .376 with 18 home runs and 76 RBIs before being picked in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball draft by the White Sox. He scored 75 runs as a Golden Eagle, the fifth most in ORU history and ranks sixth with 96 hits that season. His home runs and RBI total also put him in the top 10 in ORU history.

The San Diego native spent five seasons in the minors before making his MLB debut on July 10, 2015. Since making it to Chicago, Saladino has played in 161 games with the White Sox, and has covered every position except pitcher and catcher. His career batting average is currently .257, with 12 home runs and 58 runs batted in.