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Mailbag Friday: Why Travis Ford isn’t going anywhere

Who would win a Markel-Desmond dunk contest (?), what historical reserve could help OSU (?), and the very best Travis Ford GIF.



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

Ford on the radio just now: “We are leading the conference in scoring. We are scoring some points. We score 70 something points and expect to win, our defense is letting us down” Does Ford even watch the games? -Tyler Beets

Well he definitely watch

Take a look at this chart OKC Dave put together yesterday. OSU currently has the most efficient defense in Big 12-only games but is smack in the middle of the pack when it comes to offense.

Not only that but I don’t know what stat Ford actually is looking at..

OSU is third in overall Big 12 scoring at 83.8 PPG, fourth in conference-only scoring at 78.3 PPG, and third in KenPom offensive efficiency overall for Big 12 teams. OSU hasn’t even scored the most total points on the year. That would be OU at 1763. There isn’t a statistic that I know of that has OSU leading the conference in scoring.

I am lost. I think he is, too.

I love heckling people over Smart’s flopping (been worse this year). How much is it really hurting his draft stock? -Ben Becker

Thoughts on where Smart will end up in this years draft now? Has his stock fallen? -Connor Donavan

I can’t imagine a bunch of draftniks sitting around in May saying “you know, there’s this super physical point guard who’s a great leader and a terrific defender that could start for us right now and is a potential 12-year NBA player and he’ll be on the board when we draft at No. 8 but he flopped a few times against West Virginia in January so I guess we should pass on him and take that 6’11” Croatian who is playing against 14-year-olds.”

It’s more annoying than it is a long-term issue for him. Smart has the ability to yes-sir and no-sir his way through the combine in a way that will be impressive. He can play the game (the off-the-court game) and he’s good at it and that flopping business will feel a lot further away than four months when the draft rolls around.

What are the chances Ford is in Stillwater two years from now? As the coach of OSU, not UT- Corpus Christi, of course. -Matt Wade

After Coach Smart is gone, what’s the over/under on how many years (months) Ford has left? -Brad Brown

Ford isn’t going anywhere after this season or the next one unless he sleeps with Mrs. Holder. His contract is backloaded (yay!) which means he has at least $13 million coming to him in the next five years since he’s signed through 2019 ($2.8 million over the last four and at least $1.8 next year).

So unless somebody can get Boone drunk and in a compromising situation then Ford will be here thtough (I’m guessing) at least the 2016 season (Holder might be able to stomach bailing for $8 million after that, but I kind of doubt it).

It’s just something we’re going to have to live with, I’m afraid.

Now his buyout the other way (if another team comes calling) is only $3 million. So your hope here is that Smart assumes KD’s Rucker Park powers over the next two months and leads this team to the Final Four then one of the big boys stupidly chases Ford. How fast would Holder fork over that $3 mil? And how foolish would Texas or whoever feel when he did it?

How much would you pay to see a dunk contest between Markel and Desmond in his prime? -Kade Gottschalk

More responses like this, please.

Also, the question here is not really how much I would pay (because that answer is “all of the money”) but who would win?

I think (and goodness it stings to type this) in a vacuum that Markel is a better dunker. Desmond finished more crazy in-game dunks off alley-oops etc. than Markel but part of the reason for that is that he had Gottlieb tossing him 75-foot no-look passes. If you just took them randomly off the street (which is basically what a dunk contest is) I think Markel bests him.

I mean, watch this:

There’s nothing there Markel couldn’t do right this second if you went and plucked him out of Accounting II or whatever class he’s in. I think Markel can probably do some stuff right now that Desmond in his prime couldn’t.

Who do you see as the starting five for next years basketball team? [email protected]

What do you think our basketball team will look like next season? Will Nash stay? Will Ford cut current players for scholarship room? -Zach Burson

1. Stevie
2. Terrell
3. Williams
4. Kamari
5. Cobbins

I think hope Ford learned from 2011 and doesn’t run the Keiton Page Memorial offense for Forte to the point that he gets Walsh Shoulder from hoisting 394 threes in non-conference play next year. I have no idea if Terrell is going to be good but I’m throwing that five out there next year as the starters.

Obviously Nash (I think he’s gone a la Josh Stewart) and Forte are in the mix and Souc….lol, no.

What our chances of beating FSU next year? -Jeff Antle

Better than people think?

The defending champs and defending Heisman winner stuff gets played up a little bit, in my opinion. And why would I think OSU would be anything but solid to open the year under Gundy?

Alabama was the last defending champ to play a ranked team in its opening game (Michigan in 2012) and they won 41-14 but Bama’s a different animal than everybody else. Florida State lost its defensive coordinator to Georgia this offseason and that will hurt a little bit. I think FSU wins but it won’t be a blowout.

What are the chances we land the big recruit in town this weekend? -Aaron Morgan

Is Kansas recruiting him? Yes.
Does Bill Self still coach at Kansas? Yes.
Is Kansas losing its two best players to the draft? Yes.

We all poke fun at the lack of attendance in GIA, including yourself. What would you do to get it back to where it needs to be? -Tyler Ames

Also why do you think the attendance isn’t what it used to be? -John Culver

I think that ship has sailed, honestly.

If we aren’t packing GIA out for this team which has the best player/three-point shooter/dunker in school history then nothing short of a Eddie Sutton-Hank Iba lovechild coming back to coach the offspring of Desmond Mason and Adrian Peterson is bringing the masses back.

I blame Kevin Durant.

he pushed GIA to its apex (this is arguable) then tore it to the ground with the Thunder. Their rise coupled with the fact that we’re a football school now — you can’t argue this when more people have read the “Joe Wickline is leaving” story on PFB than pretty much every post we’ve had about one of the best basketball teams in school history this month — is why it’s not coming back.

Really, a post about OUR OFFENSIVE LINE COACH generates more interest in January than a team that was (for most of the month) in the thick of a Big 12 race. I think it’s a matter of prioritization for most folks. The hierarchy for most OSU fans in the state goes something like this:

1. Good Thunder team
2. Good OSU football team
3. Bad Thunder team
4. ‘Crootin
5. Bad OSU football team
6. Good OSU basketball team
7. Bad OSU basketball team

That’s just the reality of it.

Higher on your wish list for future basketball coach: Gottlieb or Brooks Thompson? [email protected]

I’m horrendously biased, but Gottlieb. I think he would generate the type of buzz you’ve seen with Hoiberg at Iowa State. Brooks would be great, don’t get me wrong, but OSU fans don’t associate themselves with him like they do with Gottlieb.

Maybe that’s because he has a national radio show, calls games for CBS, and is on the NCAA Tournament telecast — it doesn’t really matter why — but I think both could have long-term success. I really do.

Seems the basketball team offense doesn’t have a system to lean on to create open shots when team struggles. Have you noticed as well? -CB Warrior

There was a really interesting article about Jordan Spieth on last week after he shot 75-75 on the weekend at Torrey Pines to fall out of the lead to finish T19. It talks about how he doesn’t have a shot to fall back on when his game isn’t working. This doesn’t make sense to golf fans like you and I because we’re just trying to hit it straight but for pros who are trying to shape shots and swing a little bit differently every time you need a money swing to go to when your overall game isn’t working.

All that being said, you’re right, our go-to offense when the pressure isn’t working is “here Phil, yank from Pistol Pete’s head” when it should actually be “let’s get Marcus to the rim at any cost, get some free throws, and move on.” One person on Twitter even suggested running the high screen above the free throw line for Marcus like OSU used to for Eaton. That would work, too.

When we get out of sorts, though, we just panic. OSU’s offense makes Richard Sherman look calm, cool, and collected. It’s maddening to watch.

What would Bill Self’s record be with OSU’s team this year if he and Ford had a freaky Friday incident? -John Stotts

Another terrific question.

You can’t go game-by-game here because you can’t say “oh he would have done this differently or not have done that” because I don’t know Self, Ford, or the sport of basketball well enough to do that. So you have to say “what would the attitude of this team be, what would its general arc be?” I think you’d probably be a game better so far. Maybe two. You would either be 17-3 or 18-2 instead of 16-4.

Of course you wouldn’t be putting Mississippi Valley State on the non-conference schedule either so maybe that needs to be revised.

Panic meter of hoops? 1 being not worried, 10 being 1st round exit of NCAA Tournament again. -Tyler Beets

If this team loses to anyone in the first round that’s an abject disaster.

I think I’m at a six right now. But it’s really trending towards Greg Gumbel cutting into the Arizona-Pacific first round rout with this update…

“No. 13 seed Wisconsin Green Bay has upset Oklahoma State on a last-second three pointer from the baseline! I cannot believe what I’m seeing! Back to you, Verne!”

[pistolsguy putting a stamp and return address on this baby en route to 700 W Hall of Fame Ave, Stillwater, OK 74075]

Getting any sleep with two young ones? -Kevin Davis

I lose less sleep with them than I do with Tiger and Rory playing these freaking tournaments in the middle east at 3 AM.

Dirty’s or Murphy’s? -Ty Ketchum

Get out of here.

If I’m ranking just the the buildings in Stillwater where does Murphy’s rank in “I do NOT want that place to get torn down”?

GIA is No. 1, BPS is No. 2, what’s No. 3? Chick-fil-A? The Aspen on Western? Murphy’s? The Colvin? It’s an interesting question.

What seed will OSU end up with in the NCAA tourney and what is needed to stay at or around a four seed? -Jake Schooley

I’ll say four with a ceiling of three and a floor of five. I think this team finishes probably 12-6 or 13-5 in the Big 12. Depending on how it does in the Big 12 Tournament, that’s probably a four. The funny thing is that it could theoretically have a worse Big 12 record than last season (13-5) and end up with a higher seed. Perception, baby.

Would you say this team has the most potential Ok State basketball has had? If Eddie was coach,this would be No. 1 seed type team? -Bryan Goodpasture

A No. 1 seed? Stop it.

Let’s look at the 9th/10th guys on the four best teams since the turn of the century and then the 9th/10th guys on this team without Cobbins (ranked by FGA because this site doesn’t do MP):

2000: Dady/Cazzelle (?!)
2004: TC/Monds
2005: Monds/Pettway
2009: Kirkland/Sidorakis
2014: Soucek/Gaskins (and Hammonds is ahead of them!)

If Eddie wasn’t getting a one seed with TC and Monds as his 9th/10th guys he sure wasn’t getting one with Soucek and Gaskins.

This team is top heavy, but not loaded. It’s like that 2000 team in a lot of ways, its top three guys are probably better thisyear but don’t forget, that team was just a No. 4 seed. Eddie could squeeze a No. 3 seed out of this team without Cobbins but nothing better. And Ford might still do that.

Is it possible we overrated the talent on both the football and basketball team? -Blake Huddleston

Not necessarily the talent but I think I misjudged the depth on both. I didn’t realize our defense was as deep as it was in football and I didn’t realize our teams was as thin as it was in basketball.

What role player from OSU basketball’s past would most help this team? No starters allowed. -OSU Stats

I’m guessing I can’t pick somebody like Joe Adkins who didn’t start his sophomore year but started as a senior. I get the season I pick for that person. I also went with guys who weren’t in the top five for starts for a season. So in 2005 JamesOn started 15 games and TC started 13. I counted JamesOn as a starter and TC as a reserve.

It comes down to these seven for me:

’95 Chianti Roberts
’00 Andre Williams
’03 Jason Miller
’04 Stevie Graham
’05 Terrence Crawford
’05 Stevie Graham
’06 Torre Johnson

Did you know that ’05 TC averaged 8.5 boards and 9.8 points per 40 minutes? ’04 Stevie, ’05 Stevie, and ’06 Torre put up similar numbers but that ’05 TC season was what we need from a big man right now, somebody that’s not afraid to throw some people around down low and who knows what to do with an offensive rebound when he grabs it.

I wouldn’t turn down either Stevie and Andre feels like the most similar in terms of a Cobbins replacement but I’m going to go with TC.

Travis Ford for Scott Drew straight up. Would either school do it? -Jack Knorr

Oh gosh.

I don’t think either school would but I think OSU would do it before Baylor would (Drew has been to more Elite 8s than Travis Ford has won tournament games — let that one sink in).

I think Baylor’s AD would just hang up and I think Holder would say “give me 10 minutes” before driving out to Gundy’s ranch and calling back on his burner phone to chat.

Will you do Ford and Walsh for Petty and Drew……..

Also, with Baylor in the house this weekend we’re coming up on the anniversary of the best Travis Ford GIF ever:

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