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OSU basketball: Young Cowboys' progress provides silver lining

Despite an 11-12 record, coach Travis Ford is enjoying this team — and pondering its bright future
by John Helsley Published: February 6, 2012

Travis Ford refuses to surrender optimism, short- or long-term.

Now, the Oklahoma State men's basketball coach has maybe redefined his optimism, all things considered with these inconsistent Cowboys and all their in-season drama.

Still, Ford said he's never been in a better mood during a season and proclaims a renewed joy for going to work each day, despite challenges that have reshaped his roster to a skeleton crew that now relies on a former recruited walk-on to fill key minutes.

And also because of those challenges, and the way that his team continues to respond to them.

Next up: Iowa State, Tuesday night at 6, inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

“I'm really enjoying coaching this basketball team,” Ford said. “It was very tough for a couple weeks. Now, I'm just really enjoying preparing every day. I'm here early and I'm here late, but I'm enjoying doing it and I'm enjoying walking into practice and giving these guys the game plan and saying, ‘Here it is, let's give it a shot.'

“They'll look at you and say, ‘Let's do it.'”

In what has evolved into a silver lining sort of season, there's this: freshman Brian Williams going off for a career-high 23 points in a breakout performance Saturday, keeping the Cowboys battling in an eventual 64-60 loss to Baylor.

And this: Markel Brown's big breakthrough, a career-best 30-point outburst at Texas Tech that sparked OSU's first conference road win in nearly two years, just three days before Williams' takeoff.

And six days before that, freshmen Le'Bryan Nash and Michael Cobbins came through with arguably their best games as Cowboys in an upset of then-No. 2 Missouri.

For Ford – and for OSU fans seeking the bright side – those four players project a core of hope for the future.

Only Nash was a starter when the season started. Now all four are regulars. And with major minutes being force-fed on each, the growing pains appear to be paying off.

Continue reading this story on the...

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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