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Oklahoma State basketball: Travis Ford opens up to reporters about criticism, optimism for next season

by John Helsley Published: April 2, 2014
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Oklahoma State basketball coach Travis Ford engaged reporters in a postseason chat of sorts Wednesday, discussing a wide range of topics that spanned everything from what went wrong this season to what’s right about next season to the need to cut the time on the shot clock. A few highlights:

On the impact of Michael Cobbins injury, just as the Cowboys hit the Big 12 Conference portion of their schedule:

“I knew the significance of the Cobbins injury immediately; and the timing of it. I wasn’t going to let anybody know that, my team or anybody else. But I knew it immediately, where we were within our team and what he meant.

“It wasn’t like Michael was playing great at that time, but we knew it was coming. That’s what we kept talking about in our staff meeting. ‘Man, we’re not getting what we want out of Michael, but think about when he does come on.’”

On the criticism that aimed at him during the season:

“Oh, you’re aware of it. I don’t read anything. I hear about it all. I hear everything. You know it’s out there, not necessarily because I’m hearing it, but things weren’t going the way I wanted it to go. If I’m not happy…

“It doesn’t affect how I work every day. I’ve always been very, very driven, and probably overly competitive. You know it’s out there. I don’t pay attention to it as far as how it affects my work. Do you wish it weren’t there? Yeah, you wish it weren’t there, because you know what’s driving it is wins and losses. You want to win.

“I’ve been around sports my whole entire life. I get it. It’s not like I don’t get it.”

On reason for optimism next season, despite the loss of Marcus Smart and Markel Brown:

“I’m anxious to get started. I believe in this team. Yeah, there’s a lot of work to be done, but I think there’s a lot of pieces to it. As we saw this year, nothing guarantees you. Nothing. There are teams that lose a bunch of players and come back and do great. There are teams with players coming back with high expectations and things don’t go the way they want.

“But I like our basketball team. I like the pieces of it. We have good experience, combined with good freshmen coming in. We’re going to have a whole lot more depth, especially inside. I like our pieces a lot.”

On the need for a shot clock adjustment, in an effort to make the college game more exciting:

“When they started talking about calling more fouls, that was my reaction.  They said they wanted to score more points. How about we speed the game up, make it more exciting? And points have a lot to do with that. The emphasis was more points, more points, more points. And we’re going to get more points because we’re going to call more fouls? OK, that makes sense, to a degree. But if you want to make it more exciting, speed it up, score more points. Take (the shot clock) down to 28… 30… 24… 25… that’s fine with me. That will do it.”

On OSU fans wanting to win more:

“I get that. We always want to do more. You want to win games. You want to go further in the NCAA Tournament. There is no doubt about that. There is no question. And that’s what makes fans great. You want passionate fans.

“With that said, our kids are working hard every single day. They played hard every single game. They fought through a lot of adversity this year to do some good things. We won 21 games after going through a tough stretch. We’ve gone to the NCAA Tournament four out of six years. Those are good things. We’ve won a lot of big games. There are some things that are very positive.

“Do we want more? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s the goal. I promise you, I live and breathe it and eat and sleep it. That’s my plan. That’s what I’m focused on. You always need a couple breaks here and there, I don’t care who you are or where it’s at. Nothing’s guaranteed in this game, I don’t care how much talent you’ve got. You always have the human element.

“We’ve done a lot of good things here. Do we want more? Absolutely. I understand the negative is going to be brought up more. Do we want to win? Absolutely. I get that end of it. I get it.”

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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