Keiton Page Visits With Travis Ford

Keiton Page was sitting in front of the computer Thursday night listening to new Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford's introductory press conference from earlier in the day when his cell phone rang. It didn't take him long to realize that the voice on the other end was that of Ford. What did they talk about? What is Page's initial reaction? He shared his thoughts with on Friday.

The comparisons of Page, the standout sharpshooter who led Pawnee (Okla.) High School to the Class 2A state championship this past season by averaging a state record 44.4 points, 7.3 assists and 5.9 steals, and Ford began almost the instant word surfaced that the former University of Massachusetts coach was going to be taking over the OSU basketball program.

Page, at 5-9 is the same height as Ford when he earned All-State honors at North Hopkins High School in Madisonville, Ky., where he averaged 31.7 points per game as a senior. Ford played in college at Missouri (earning Big Eight All-Freshman honors in 1989-90) and Kentucky (helping the Wildcats to a Final Four and receiving first team All-Southeastern Conference recognition as a senior).

Ford shot 88.5 percent from the free-throw line during his college career, and made 42.2 percent of his three-point attempts. Page made 87.7 percent of his free throws (651 of 742) and shot 49.9 percent from three-point range (458 of 918) in 111 high school games during his four-year career.

"I thought that was pretty cool that people were comparing me and him. He was a great player in high school and when he went to college and played at Missouri and Kentucky. I thought that was pretty neat," Page said. "He told me (the comparison between the two of us) was brought up quite a bit, and he thought it was a pretty cool deal that people were comparing our games.

"He said he was really looking forward to coaching me, and that shooting is a great part of the game and that he loves great shooters, and that he was looking forward to meeting me," said Page, who indicated that they did not set up a time to meet in person.

"We talked for about five minutes. I know he had a really busy day with all the press conferences and everything," said Page. "We talked for a little bit and he told me he was really excited about it, and really excited about me, and being able to make a great team, and he's looking forward to it."

Ford's hiring of page ended a 17-day search by Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder to find a replacement for Sean Sutton. If Holder wasn't going to entice Bill Self to leave Kansas for his alma mater than Page says he doesn't think the OSU athletic director could have made any better hire than Ford.

"No, not at all. I knew they'd get a great hire in, and I'm extremely happy with Coach Ford and excited to get down there and start playing for him," he said.

Did Ford ask for any advice on Oklahoma high school players he may want to begin recruiting? "No, he didn't get a chance to talk to me about that. We kinda made it real short and sweet because I figured he was probably pretty tired after all the stuff he went through yesterday," Page said.

Page was definitely left with a good first impression of his new coach. But what impressed him the most? "I think it is his style of play. The way he plays a lot of possessions. UMass led the nation last year in possessions. The way they get up and down the floor and play a fast-paced game it something I think I'm really going to like. It really fits the way I play," Page said.

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