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Big 12 Basketball Media Day: Travis Ford

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KANSAS CITY -

Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford took questions at Big 12 Media Day in Kansas City on Tuesday. Here’s what he had to say about his team.

Opening Statement

“Well, we've had very competitive practices. We've got a lot of new players, a lot of players on our basketball team that have new roles. The returning players' roles are going to be increased drastically. So from that standpoint, practices have been very good from the standpoint of how hard they're working, their attitudes. They're going pretty slow right now as far as implementing a system. Got a lot of guys learning from scratch. But it's been fun coaching the guys.”

On Phil Forte as leading man

“Yes, he is the leading man. He is a captain on this team, a leader on this team. He's got the most experience of anybody on this team. He's been through the most on this team. But he is not a player that can do it by himself. I think last year we relied way too much on just Nash and Forte and that was my fault. I'm talking about more scoring. We just -- everything was designed to try to get them a shot. Now it worked a lot. We had a lot of big wins and probably overachieved in a lot of areas, but it caught up to us at the end of the year. It caught up to us. But it got us through a lot of tough moments. But at the end of the year, we just weren't balanced enough. We were not balanced.

I think opening the court up and having a point guard and some other balanced scorers on our team and having an offense that's designed more for balance, I think it's going to help him. With that said, yes, we do need him to score points. We do need him to get his16, 17, 18 points a game. But I think he'll hopefully get it in a little easier manner by playing off other players than just having to come off screens all the time and just be the focal point.

He's come a long way. You're looking at a young man who a lot of people questioned could he play at this level and things like that. He led the Big 12 in scoring for pretty much half the year last year, and he's continuing to try to develop his game over the summer by studying different NBA players and doing things we've asked him to do. Just watching him in practice the last week or so, he seems a whole lot more comfortable in getting shots, a lot easier within the offense we're running right now. Even though we have a long way to go offensively.”

On the point guard position

Last year we had a point guard that was really good. Anthony Hickey won great games for us, but he was a scoring pint guard first. His success and our success a lot of times depended upon him scoring. When he scored, we played well. We're not going to be as dependent on that. Jawun Evans and Tyree Griffin are point guards, pass first point guards that get other people involved, which opens the court a lot. When you have a point guard that with penetrate and create, he has to be honored by all five defenders. So hopefully that opens things up for Phil Forte. Whereas at the end of the year last year, people are so locked onto him and they didn't really have to help except for Nash, to an extent.

On the way forward for Louisville and coach Rick Pitino following allegations of enlisting strippers for recruits

 Well, obviously I don't know a whole lot about it other than what you read. One thing, I'm extremely, 100 percent confident in him, that he knew nothing about it if they were to come out to be true in some fashion or form. I can guarantee you that. For somebody who played for him and knows what he stands for and his expectations out of his players and how he does things, I know there is no chance in the world he knew anything about it. The question has been posed a lot in these back hallways and different interviews and things about accountability amongst coaches and things like that. I think every head coach you do -- you meet with your coaches and staff and have expectations. You meet with your players and you have expectations and you do the best you possibly can. It's impossible to know every little single thing that's going on within your program, as much as we'd like to and as much as we try to.

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