One-on-One With Travis Ford

Travis Ford took time out of his busy schedule to meet with members of the media Tuesday for the first time since being named head coach of the Oklahoma State basketball program. The next issue of Go Pokes Magazine will include a feature on the new Cowboys' head coach, but here are a few questions that the 38-year-old Ford answered during our interview with him.

How have you first few weeks been as the head coach of the Cowboys?
Ford: They've gone great. They've been very busy. I've been trying to get to know the players, trying to get caught up on recruiting, trying to hire staff, trying to just get situated. But it's going very well - very well! And the biggest reason it's gone as well as it has so far is because the people have been so nice, and so helpful to me. That's been a huge help.

What's been your priority the first two and a half weeks?
Ford: To get to know my players, trying to get to know those guys as much as I could. They're gone (home) now. It was a very quick process. I didn't get to get on the court with them because of NCAA rules but we had a couple of individual meetings with them, and team meetings. That was my biggest priority.

How do you think the adjustment went?
Ford: I think it went good. It's a process, it takes time. I don't expect to gain their trust over night. It's something I've always done, and I think it's more important to develop a relationship off the court with my players first, than on the court. I'm a tough coach, and I do demand a lot. You can't demand a lot out of somebody unless they feel like they can trust you, and they know it's not personal when you do get on them. I try to build that relationship off the court to where I can get the most out of them on the court.

What's the latest on your staff?
Ford: It's an extremely high priority but I have not completely finished it yet. I want to make sure I get the right guys in here. With staffs there are all different kinds of priorities – recruiters, on the court coaching, there are all different kinds of things. I want to try to get the best people, and not rush anything.

It appears that Steve Middleton and Chris Ferguson are going to be two members of your staff. Is that correct?
Ford: Steve definitely came with me (from UMass). (Note: Middleton was spending his first day in his new OSU basketball office on Tuesday). We're trying to figure everything out with Chris. There's definitely a possibility but there's nothing in concrete right now.

What's the latest on Terrel Harris, who has been suspended indefinitely?
Ford: Right now, he's suspended from the basketball team, and we'll see what happens from there.

What is the situation with Dee Proby, the junior college player from Angelina College in Texas who was signed by Sean Sutton's staff in November?
Ford: Dee has to continue to work very hard in the classroom, and take it one day at a time. I talked to his coach (at Angelina) yesterday, and I talked to Dee, and he's got some work to do. He's no different than a lot of players, he's got some work to do. But there's very small room for error for him right now. I'm just getting to know him. The staff before me signed him, and he seems very determined to (graduate from junior colelge), which excites me. It excites me that he wants to be here very badly, so there's incentive there for him. It there any guarantee (he'll eventually be an OSU Cowboy)? No, because he's still got work to do.

Will you attempt to sign any other players who can play this year?
Ford: This is the fourth job I've taken over, and a lot of times people get a job and say they've got scholarships available so they just start signing players. I've not done that, and I'm not going to. I'd rather wait and if there's a player who I think can really help us, that I feel like is good enough for us, and that I know, then I'll take him but I'm not going to (sign a player just because we have scholarships to give).

There have been some players out there lately who have been available but there were a lot of people recruiting them. I look at their stats, and you wonder if he may be available for a reason. We need some pieces, there's no question about that. There are some pieces on this team that we need, but this is a process. I'd rather just wait to sign players that fit our system, players that we recruit, and want to be a part of this, rather than just going out and signing people to have bodies. We're lacking inside players, there's no question about that but this time of the year there are very few big people our there, and that makes it even more important. Again, this is a process. I want to be smart, as smart as I can about this.

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