Sutton Gets His Message Across

Sean Sutton smiled Friday when he began talking about his new best friend. But you get a completely different reaction if you ask any member of the Oklahoma State basketball team about it. That's because they're not particularly fond of this "best friend" who accompanies Sutton to each and every Cowboy practice.

Sutton, who begins his second year as OSU's head coach when the Cowboys host Panhandle State of Goodwell, Okla. in a season-opening exhibition game Friday night, has a treadmill located at one end of the floor directly behind a basket for every practice. Every time a Cowboy makes a specific mistake they are instructed to go to the treadmill and run for 60 seconds.

"I've been on the treadmill about six times, which is kinda low compared to some of the guys like Obi (Muonelo)," OSU senior Marcus Dove said Friday during the basketball team's media day.

The Cowboys, as of now, are sent to the treadmill when they make one of three transgressions – turning the ball over, missing an easy shot around the basket or not taking a charge when they have the opportunity.

Oklahoma State's lack of taking care of the ball has produced two of the three highest turnovers seasons the past two years in the past 30 years. The Cowboys turned the ball over 570 times during the 2005-06 season (the most in school history), and gave the ball away 562 times (an average of more than 16 per game) last season. The 1994-95 Cowboy team is the only one near those numbers with 565.

Sutton is committed to making sure that this year's squad takes better care of the basketball.

"The treadmill is my new best friend," he says with a laugh. "I don't think they like it very much but that's the purpose of it.

"We are not going to miss easy baskets and throw away points that way. We're not going to throw away possessions by turning the ball over and wasting opportunities," Sutton continued. "If you have an opportunity to take a charge, you step over there and sacrifice your body and take a charge because we feel like the charge is the single greatest play that you can make in basketball. The reason we think that is because you put a foul on the opponent's scoreboard, you take the ball away from them and keeps them from scoring, and gives your team the ball back."

Dove says, "He really harps on missing easy shots and turnovers."

But the Cowboys may soon be spending even more time on the treadmill because next week Sutton plans to add a few more of his pet peeves to the list of transgressions that will get a player running.

"Next week we're going to add three more things: One, boxing your man out every time the shot goes up; two, when we shoot it and we're supposed to be going to the offensive glass, there had better be four guys running to the rim trying to get a put back, and three, running both ways in transition."

Dove said the coach's new motivational technique is working. "I'd rather be out there practicing then (on) the treadmill because he hikes it up on the highest incline that he can, and you have to sprint on there for either 30 seconds or a minute, depending upon what you did. When you're out there playing you can kinda rest here and there but when you're on that treadmill it's full go the whole time," said the Cowboy senior.

Sutton believes his "new best friend" is going to make the Cowboys a better team.

"It's been good. It's got their attention. I think it will pay off for us, and if it doesn't pay off at least we'll be in better shape," he says.

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