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OSU basketball: Brian Williams, Michael Cobbins practiced patience

A redshirt season full of working out and practicing is paying off for duo and the Cowboys
by John Helsley Published: February 14, 2012

STILLWATER — Brian Williams and Michael Cobbins sat planted at the end of Oklahoma State's bench last year, redshirting and cheerleading.

And waiting.

Waiting not for their opportunity, but on more drills and lifts and, well… more drills, which could arise unannounced at almost any time.

Not playing was challenging enough, yet both agreed that spectator status wasn't at all the worst part of their redshirt basketball seasons.

“All the workouts,” Williams said. “All the extra workouts. They'd just work you out whenever they could. Before games. After games. Off days.

“You had to keep your phone on, because they'd text you: ‘Be at the gym in 30 minutes.'”

In retrospect, it was all good — for Cobbins and Williams, and for the Cowboys, too — even if it seldom seemed so at the time.

A year later, both players are coming on, looking like major contributors for the future, with three more years to play.

“For them to be called freshmen, I like,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “It's good. It's a big difference between being a freshman or a sophomore right now.”

Of course, Cobbins and Williams thought they could play and contribute as true freshmen. Who doesn't?

Now, however, they recognize the benefits of last year's grueling grind beyond the bright lights of Gallagher-Iba Arena.

“It killed me, because I saw on the court everybody doing stuff I could do, and I saw we were losing,” said Williams, a versatile wing man who can shoot from the perimeter and also defend small forwards. “I felt I could contribute in some ways.

“But I got smarter, understanding the game more. Of course, I got stronger, faster and got to understand Coach Ford's system.”

Said Cobbins: “After the season started progressing, you could see that you're learning the program. Next year will be your turn and you focus on just getting better.”

And for Cobbins, along with getting better, his focus was tuned to getting bigger.

Arriving at OSU with just 180 pounds on his 6-foot-8 frame, Cobbins had skills, but none of the needed bulk to battle with the Big 12's big men, a point made quite clear going against Marshall Moses and Matt Pilgrim in practices daily.

“I knew when I came in I was light, and that was something I definitely found out in practices,” said Cobbins, who is now 40 pounds heavier at 220. “I was getting pushed around down low. And I knew that was my position and if I wanted to do something about it, I had to get stronger.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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