Travis Ford is working.
That’s always been the take on Ford among analysts and other coaches – grinding recruiter – and he’s had to be this offseason, with departures and defections reshaping Oklahoma State’s roster.
Ford, and his staff, however, haven’t taken the hits without a response. And in the span of 24 hours, they’re on the verge of adding two potentially significant pieces: LSU transfer guard Anthony Hickey and junior college forward Igor Ibaka, the brother of Thunder forward Serge Ibaka.
Ibaka will join the Cowboys for the 2015-16 season, after attaining his junior college degree. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward will have three years to play at OSU.
Hickey, pending an NCAA waiver following his release from LSU, would be eligible immediately and likely start at the point for the Cowboys next season. Hickey (5-11, 182) was one of three LSU players to leave the program last month. Despite a run as a three-year starter, his scholarship was not renewed, with media reports in Baton Rouge referring to “run-ins” with coach Johnny Jones.
Hickey was granted a full release by the school. An NCAA “run-off” rule created two years ago for such instances creates the probability of immediate eligibility, provided that he is in good academic standing. LSU would also have to provide a statement to support the transfer request, which would seem likely.
For his career, Hickey averaged 9.4 points and 3.8 assists. As a junior last season, he averaged 8.4 points, 3.7 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals while starting 31 games. And his 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference play led the SEC.
A former Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky, Hickey would ease transition at the point, where Marcus Smart and Markel Brown handled the majority of the minutes for the Cowboys last season.
The Cowboys added junior college point guard Jeff Newberry and high school point guard Tyree Griffin, yet lacked anyone with major college minutes at the position.
More OSU basketball news:
# OSU insiders are now optimistic that four-star Texas wing player Joe Burton and junior college big man Anthony Allen are making academic progress in their efforts to make it to campus this summer.
# Bixby big man Mitch Solomon, has impressed in pickup games. Now a legit 6-10 and 240 pounds, Solomon has shown soft hands and ability to shoot stretching to the 3-point arc.