Akol To Accompany Team To Orlando?

Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford said Monday afternoon before his team's practice that he is hoping that 6-foot-11 freshman Teeng Akol will join the Cowboys when they leave Tuesday for the Old Spice Classic tournament to be played later this week in Orlando, Fla.

Akol has yet to participate with the Cowboys since practice started Oct. 15 because of issues relating to his eligibility. Ford said the Cowboys are hoping to have any NCAA eligibility issues cleared up so that he can practice with the team for the first time Tuesday.

"We don't know yet. We have made several phone calls today and we're just waiting to hear back from the clearinghouse. They've got all the information they need, everything's in front of them ...," Ford said prior to the Cowboys taking the practice court Monday.

"I'm suspecting he's going on the trip. That's my intention. I'll be honest with you, I'm hoping he practices tomorrow (before we fly to Orlando)," Ford said.

The Cowboys have been using a starting lineup with only one player taller than 6-6 (in 6-11 Ibrahima Thomas), and could definitely use another post player. But who knows how much Akol would help?

"I don't know. He hasn't practiced. He hasn't done anything," said Ford of Akol, who averaged 21 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocked shots per game while playing at the IMG Academy in Florida.

"The last time he played was a little over a year and a half ago. He did get to work out with us for about two weeks (this summer), but that was individual workouts only. He can do some things individual workouts but that doesn't tell you a whole lot.

"So how much he'll be able to contribute right away, how much he'll be able to contribute throughout the year? I don't know. It can't hurt to have a 6-10, 6-11 guy. I know he can run, which is a plus. We'll see," Ford continued.

The Cowboys open the Old Spice Classic against ninth-ranked Gonzaga on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) in a nationally televised first-round game.

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