So I woke up veeeerrry early yesterday and went to walk-on tryouts at Gallagher-Iba. Wrote about it for yesterday’s paper, but here’s a little more of what went on.
Now, a quick disclaimer: I have a huge soft spot for walk-ons. I just think it means so much to those guys, it’s cool to see how much they care about it and how they work really hard more for the love of the game than anything else.
OK, so now we have that established. Moving on to Wednesday morning, well before sunrise. I walk into the big gym expecting to see tryouts going on, but what I happen upon is OSU’s regular basketball practice, with all the coaches in attendance. I’m a little baffled. So I stay and watch for a few minutes before heading to the auxiliary gym where the walk-ons are having at it. I have to say, I enjoy watching these practices. Travis Ford is strictly business and things move at a pace that borders on frantic. The guys seem to live a little bit in fear of messing up, and it keeps them on their toes.
So then I head over to tryouts. What’s going there is basically the Colvin Center transplanted, a bunch of pickup games without rhyme or reason. Just when someone starts to look decent, he makes a ridiculous error. There’s very little defense. The turnovers are ridiculous. Big guys only get the ball when they rebound; there is no such thing as feeding the post. To be fair, they don’t look all that different from some of the sloppier pickup games the Cowboys play over the summer. Director of operations Joey Biggs is making cuts and dividing up the teams, and after two hours he sends the best 14 or so over to the big gym, where the actual staff watches for no more than 10 minutes. Ford talks to the group, basically warning them that it’s hard work and they’re not going to play. He is not a sugar-coater, this Travis Ford. Four or five guys are asked to write down their info, and that’s that.
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