Wednesday, October 18, was Big 12 Conference basketball media day in Kansas City, Missouri. The annual event was held at the Sprint Center, home of the 2012 Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Championship. The Oklahoma State Cowboys sent junior Markel Brown, sophomore Le’ Bryan Nash, and freshman Marcus Smart along with head coach Travis Ford. The Cowboys cavalry spent about five hours answering questions for the regional and national media.
The Cowboys spent time conducting interviewed with ESPNU, Fox Sports Net, the Big 12 Network, and SiriusXM Radio. Smart participated in a live webcast on the Big 12 official website, and Brown took part in a live twitter chat with #Big12Sports. Ford’s interviews mainly focused on the young talent of his team, and how they would come together after a debilitating previous season due to injuries.
“We are still very, very, very young. We’re going to be playing three or four freshmen and three sophomores, and a junior,” Ford said when asked about the future.
Of course, the main thing reporters wanted to work out of Ford was how good Marcus Smart really is.
“I’ve never seen too many players that make as many extra effort plays as Marcus Smart makes. I was telling our team the other day everybody kind of does what I tell them to do. He kind of goes above and beyond what I tell him to do. It’s just refreshing,” Ford replied to reporters. “Marcus is an extremely versatile player. He can play four different positions on the court from point guard to the two, to the three, to the four, but extremely unselfish basketball player. Probably more so than any player I have ever coached.”
Ford was also pressed to answer questions about rebounding and how the team will turn things around. Last season, the Cowboys were ranked 292 in rebounds per game, and things are beginning to look even worse this season with their most physical player, Brian Williams, out with an injury. In the Big 12, the Cowboys ranked last in every rebounding category.
“We’ve been doing rebounding drills every single day. That is the emphasis we are putting on it,” Ford said. ”It is very evident where we’ve got to get better when you look at the stats. I think because of it, we will score more than we did last season and our defense will be better.”
Ford went on to add that their team slogan for this year is “from last to first,” in regards to rebounding.
The Cowboys only have 13 days left until they will put their rebounding skills to the test against Ottawa, Kansas, at home in Stillwater.