OSU basketball: Issues, issues and more issues

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford was exasperated after a 66-56 loss to New Mexico. All-to-familiar story lines contribute to Cowboys dropping to 6-4 on the season.
by John Helsley Published: December 18, 2011

Yeah, it's still early. And the Cowboys clearly have talented pieces. Yet the pieces don't seem to fit so well together. Not without a point guard to run things. And not without better definition of what Ford wants this team to be.

OSU's most potentially dynamic players – Le'Bryan Nash, Jéan-Paul Olukemi and Markel Brown – are all cut from the same mold, yet regularly paired together, seemingly stifling the effectiveness of at least one of the three.

There's no dominant presence in the post; no consistent scorer to be counted on.

Much like a year ago, when OSU missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Ford, these Cowboys lack anyone who provides comfort as a clutch-time triggerman.

There are no jump shooters, just a collection of slashers to pair oddly with perimeter sniper Keiton Page.

“We just can't get everybody on the same page,” Ford said. “When we get one guy playing well, another guy takes a step back.

“We're struggling to score. It's bewildering.”

Maybe Ford will have to reconsider this group's style of play. He's recruited a collection of athletes. But basketball players? Remains to be seen.

Still, he's asking his slashers and lane crashers to operate out of a half-court offense that doesn't seem to match their skills, calling on them to run around a series of screens in hope of finding open shots, though shooting isn't a strong suit.

With a young team that could teeter emotionally, Ford faces a major challenge to fix things quick.

“I've talked a lot about what a great group of guys we have, and they are,” Ford said, “but they have to understand that once they step across that line it's time to get serious. It's not just fun and games. Some of them are still trying to figure out what this is all about.

“We'll learn from it. We're better than we were two weeks ago. We have some weaknesses we have to camouflage. But we'll figure it out.”

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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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