I recently had the good fortune to catch the OU-OSU bedlam game in Stillwater where I have some good college memories…….
Welcome back. The date was February 16, 2013 and the time was 12:45 PM as T. Boone Pickens along with 13,611 ticketed seat holders and another 400 or so standing in the walkways at Gallagher IBA Arena saw the good old rowdy days of basketball from Stillwater’s past return.
This week with basketball on so many people’s minds, including mine I’ve got to start off my column there. The Oklahoma State Cowboys, under fifth year head coach Travis Ford now are the leaders of the Big 12 Conference and will be playing powerhouse Kansas tonight in Stillwater.
Win or lose OSU will get invited to what sports writers call “March Madness.” I had the opportunity to talk with Coach Ford Saturday afternoon and at least off the court he seems like one of the nicest and most down to earth guys I’ve ever met. He has worked his way up the ranks and history has shown that given a little time he can transform loosing programs into winning ones and that’s what he’s done in Stillwater. I’m sure OSU won’t be his last turnaround story. Yes, one day Travis Ford will one day soon move up the coaching ladder but until then I see nothing but great things in OSU’s basketball future.
Now on to a couple of guys who play for Travis that you may not know too much about yet. Although all of the OSU Cowboys are playing great team ball, 6’7” 230 lb. sophomore Le Bryan Nash out of Dallas, Texas is special. Nash is quick of foot with lots of spring in his legs and his every with the ball seems like some sort of circus shoot that goes in most of the time. One of two McDonald’s All Stars on the team, the honors he earned last year alone would fill a trophy case. He’s a swell kid and making an important difference to the team.
The other player I want to bring up I expect will also be moving up in baksetball before long, although I hope later rather than sooner. The opportunity to see him play is another good reason to get to an OSU as soon as you can. Number 33 6’4” 225 lb. freshman Marcus Smart from Flower Mound, Texas has NBA written all over him. After being named a McDonald’s All American, his high school achievements on the court brought him scholarships offers from North Carolina to Kansas and everywhere in between. He is living up to all the expectations of greatness and I discovered during a postgame interview he is also very personable and mature. With all that said here’s this week’s scoop.
You long time readers know that I have predicted the last three NCAA tournament winners so here it is: I look for OSU to go far. A Cinderella team with the rowdiest fans in the country, this bunch will definitely still be playing when many other teams have gone home. After tonight there are two more games before the tournament starts. On Saturday March 2nd the Cowboys will play Texas at 3PM and on Saturday March 9th they will face Kansas State at 12:30PM. Also after the games be sure to check out Eskimo Joe’s as my traveling partner and photographer daughter Loretta and I did. A BHS senior, she was recently accepted at OSU so you know a meal there was a must. If you go be sure you have some time. A two and ½ hour wait is not unusual but what fun!
If you want to see some photos of the game visit Photography by Loretta Lewis on Facebook.
Next week its still basketball as Loretta and I join 19,675 other enthusiastic Thunder fans on Sunday night when they take on the Chicago Bulls at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City. This is my first visit to the Center and we also plan to tour the bar and restaurant in the new Devon Energy Tower nearby. I’ll be bringing you a full report next Wednesday.
Till then I’ll see ya down the road…….