While the experience of watching a sporting event can be a relatively anonymous one, as an individual can simply blend into the crowd, that isn’t the case for those with a public profile.
Thursday evening Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford was reportedly ejected from his son’s high school game, with the game official stopping the action to have him escorted from the gym. What led to Ford being ejected? Displeasure with the amount of contact being allowed around the basket, according to The Oklahoman.
Ron Holt, longtime journalist and weekly columnist for the Stillwater News Press, told The Oklahoman that Ford said, “Blow your whistle,” in response to physical play underneath the basket, prompting one of the game officials to turn and ask him to leave the gymnasium.
Holt said that Ford again said, “Blow your whistle,” and, “Do your job,” before being escorted out of the gym by Bixby athletic director Mark Chambers.
“There was a possible foul underneath the goal as a Stillwater player went in for a layup,” Holt said, “which caused Stillwater coaches and fans to voice displeasure with the no-call.
“The ref never warned him, he just looked at him and said, ‘You’re gone.’”
The events that led to Ford’s ejection don’t seem all that serious given the explanation given by Ron Holt. But given Ford’s position, having to be asked to leave the gym isn’t the best look. Next up for Ford is a game against Minnesota in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Saturday, with the Cowboys looking to rebound from losses to Tulsa and Missouri State.
Oklahoma State lands four-star guard Lindy Waters III
Friday morning Oklahoma State addressed a major need in its 2016 recruiting class, landing a player who just happens to call Norman (home of their biggest rival) home.
6-foot-5 shooting guard Lindy Waters III, announced via Twitter that he’ll be a Cowboy. The four-star prospect, who attends Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas, is Oklahoma State’s third verbal commitment in the Class of 2016 joining fellow guard Thomas Dziagwa and wing Cameron McGriff. He’s a native of Norman, Oklahoma, attending Norman North HS his first two years of high school.
“One of the breakout players of the July evaluation period, Waters is a high-level shooter with good size for his position,” NBC Sports recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said. “Oklahoma State is getting a capable wing shooter who can comfortably space the floor from anywhere within NBA range.”
Waters played for the Oklahoma Wizards Elite program on the adidas Gauntlet circuit, averaging 13.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game at the adidas Uprising Summer Championships in Las Vegas in July. Throughout the Gauntlet series prior to Las Vegas Waters averaged 16.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, shooting 47.4 percent from the field.
Waters picked the Cowboys over Butler, Houston and Harvard. And with sharpshooter Phil Forte III entering his final season of eligibility, landing a player of Waters’ caliber who can both knock down perimeter shots and score on multiple levels is an important move for Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2016 Sunday afternoon, as three-star guard Thomas Dziagwa announced via Twitter that he will be a Cowboy. Dziagwa, a senior at Tampa Catholic (Florida), is regarded as one of the top perimeter shooters in the state.
After praying and discussing it with my Family, I'm blessed to say I'm committing to Oklahoma State University 🔶⬜️🍊🔫🏀🔋😈 #GoPokes
The 6-foot-4 Dziagwa averaged nearly 27 points per game as a junior, and he played for the Florida Sons on the adidas Gauntlet circuit this summer. Oklahoma State will lose two senior guards at the end of the 2015-16 season in Jeff Newberry and Phil Forte III, with the latter being the Cowboys’ best perimeter shooter.
While Oklahoma State has a host of options on the wing, they don’t have much depth at the guard spots when it comes to the future. Freshman Jawun Evans and sophomore Tyree Griffin are the only guards on the current roster with eligibility remaining beyond the 2015-16 season, so adding another guard was something Oklahoma State needed to do.
Former Oklahoma State guard suing university, head coach Travis Ford
“Various promises were made with regard to playing time and ensuring that Stevie made it to the next level,” the complaint states. “Travis Ford even promised Stevie a Camaro.”
Clark claims that he faced “hazing and disrespect” from teammate Marcus Smart, a sophomore at the time and the team’s leading scorer.
When he expressed frustration to Ford, Clark alleges he was put on psychotropic drugs without his consent. He was required to take the medication to continue practicing with the team, according to the complaint.
Clark committed to Oklahoma State as a four-star prospect, ranked as the No. 70 overall player in the Class of 2013 by Rivals. His stint with the Cowboys was short, averaging 5.3 points, 2.7 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game in only 16 appearances as a freshman during the 2013-14 season.
His lone collegiate season included several incidents. He was sent home from the team’s trip to Orlando for the Old Spice Classic in Nov. 2013. He missed all four games on that trip for undisclosed reasons. According to the complaint, marijuana found in his room was the cause of that suspension. However, Clark believes he was used as a scapegoat for other members of the team.
Late Wednesday night the situation gained clarity, as it was reported by multiple outlets (first reported by CBSSports.com) that Dillard will instead be attending Oklahoma State to play for Travis Ford.
The 6-foot-6 small forward, who attended Our Savior New American in Centereach, New York, is Oklahoma State’s second addition in the freshman class and fourth addition overall. Dillard joins point guard Jawun Evans, who’s currently playing with the United States U19 team at the FIBA U19 World Championships, as freshmen in the recruiting class.
Graduate student Chris Olivier (via Eastern Illinois) and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M transfer Igor Ibaka also join Travis Ford’s program, which returns three starters from last season’s NCAA tournament team led by guard Phil Forte III. Dillard joins a program that returns some pieces at the three, but of those players (Leyton Hammonds, Tavarius Shine, Jeff Carroll and Joe Burton) none averaged more than 3.9 points per game.
With that being the case, there is the opportunity for Dillard to compete for minutes as a freshman.
Travis Ford receives strong endorsement from Oklahoma State athletic director, booster
Rumors have been swirling that Oklahoma State could be looking to part ways with head coach Travis Ford in recent days. On Tuesday, Cowboy athletic director Mike Holder released a statement defending Ford and saying that he would remain Oklahoma State’s head coach.
Here is the full statement released by Holder:
“Given the overwhelming amount of unfounded rumors surrounding the future of our head basketball coach Travis Ford, I am departing from my usual practice of not talking about personnel matters. Travis Ford is our head coach now, and he will be our head coach moving forward. No one wants to win games, win championships and make deep tournament runs more than our coach. When I met with Coach Ford at the end of the season, we reviewed this past season and spent time talking about the future of Oklahoma State basketball. I am convinced Travis is as dedicated as ever to our university and to the young men who play for him. I was particularly pleased with our conversation around the importance of graduating our basketball players. Let me say, we are fully committed to coach Ford and supporting him and our basketball program.”
Also showing public support for Ford on Tuesday was noted Oklahoma State booster and billionaire T. Boone Pickens. The hedge fund chairman took to Twitter to support Ford.
Having the public support of the athletic director and a billionaire booster would seem to indicate that Ford will definitely return next season. It also doesn’t hurt that Ford would be owed the full amount of the 10-year contract extension that he signed in 2009. According to a report from Erik Horne of News Oklahoma, that amount would be $9.6 million.
Ford just completed his seventh season as the head coach at Oklahoma State, where he has compiled a 143-91 record at the school. The Cowboys have made the tournament in five of those seasons, but have lost in the opening game the last four times.