Basketball: Flowers Ready For OSU?

How is life in tiny Mendenhall, Miss., (population 2,555 according to the 2000 census) treating Oklahoma State basketball signee Gary Flowers? Is the 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward from Dallas who signed with OSU in November getting his grades in order so he can join former high school teammate Byron Eaton in a Cowboy uniform next season? GoPokes.com visited with Flowers and Genesis One Christian School head coach Victor Evans on Monday about the future Cowboy. You can read all about it here.

Flowers, ranked No. 7 on Scout.com's list of post-graduate players for 2006, was originally pursued by schools like Auburn, Florida and South Florida before his grades at Lincoln High School in Dallas forced them to back off. But now he's getting his grades in order and plans to graduate in May.

"I'm scheduled to graduate and be there (at Oklahoma State) in May for summer school," said Flowers, who committed to Texas A&M before changing his mind and signing with the Cowboys.

Evans says, "He needs to take care of the task at hand, and he's on track to do that. His test scores are good. He just needs to graduate, (and) he's on track to do that in May."

Flowers reportedly scored a 1060 on the SAT during his senior year at Lincoln, but needs to pass two classes at Genesis One to earn his high school diploma and become eligible to play next season for the Cowboys.

"Gary has matured (in the six months he's been here)," Evans said. "What really make a difference is that Gary is not the only high-profile guy we have. We have several others who are really good players and will play in college next year like Michael Washington (who signed with Arkansas) and Verice Cloyd (who signed with Alabama), so he's not any more special than any of the other guys. He's not a one-man show, and I think that's been good for him."

But don't take that to mean that Flowers hasn't been a big-time player for Genesis One, which has an 18-9 record. Evans said that Flowers is averaging around 15 points and seven rebounds a game.

"He's a versatile athlete," his coach said. "I think if Gary keeps working and works on his game he can come in (to Oklahoma State) and be an impact player right away. I think he can but that's going to be determined by Gary. It's all up to Gary, and if he's going to do the things each and every day that will give him a chance to succeed. Gary's making good strides, but he's still got strides he needs to continue to make."

On the court, Flowers has shown the ability to dominate. Against Community Christian earlier this year in Cincinnati he was unstoppable and almost had a triple-double (26 points, 11 rebounds and 9 blocked shots).

"He just played a terrific game, not just in one phase of the game but he played superb in all phases of the game -- scoring, rebounding, defense, blocking shots, finishing plays," Evans said. "When he plays like that he's one of the best players in the country."

Flowers, however, doesn't even consider that outing to be his best of the season. "I think my best all-around game was against Laurinburg (N.C.) Prep a couple weekends ago," said Flowers, who had 14 points, 10 rebounds and 8 blocks in that game.

We asked Flowers to describe a typical day in the life of a basketball player at Genesis One Christian School.

"Everyone is supposed to wake up at 7 o'clock, that's when they wake you up, but me and another teammate get up at 4:30 and work out at 5 each morning," he said. "We get done and get a shower and have to be at breakfast by 7:30. I have class from 8:30 to 9:30, and then have 30 minutes before my next class from 10 to 11. I'm free from 11 until practice starts at 2. If we don't have a game, we may practice from 2:30 until 8:30 or 9. We have to be in our rooms by 10 and it's lights out at 10:30."

In addition, all students at Genesis One are involved in a Bible study each Wednesday, must attend chapel every Friday and are required to attend church each Sunday morning.

Evans believes that Genesis One has helped Flowers develop, both on and off the court. "Gary's doing fine. He knows what he has to do to be successful, both on the court and in the classroom."

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