May 8, 2014, 10:15 AM EST
Oklahoma State has lost another key piece from last season’s team as Kamari Murphy has decided to transfer out of the program, according to multiple media reports.
As a sophomore this past season, Murphy averaged 6.1 points and 6.3 boards. He became a starter when Michael Cobbins went down with a torn achilles.
Of the eight players that Oklahoma State had in their rotation at the start of the 2013-2014 season, five of them are now gone and four left with eligibility remaining: Murphy and Brian Williams transferred, Marcus Smart went pro, Stevie Clark was kicked out of the program in December and Markel Brown graduated. That list doesn’t include Jared Terrell, either. Terrell was the crown jewel of Ford’s 2014 recruiting class but he got out of his letter of intent last month.
That leaves Travis Ford with a roster that is going to be dreadfully thin once again.
The good news? He does return Le’Bryan Nash for what should be a big senior season, and Cobbins and Phil Forte should be back as well. Add in a five-man recruiting class — headlined by JuCo transfer Jeff Newberry — and the cupboard isn’t completely bare, but it’s still hard to see how Ford is going to be able to get this team into the NCAA tournament.
Which brings us back to a point that was brought up by Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman back when the Pokes were bounced from the NCAA tournament in their first game: Travis Ford’s contract is a doozy. The school signed him to a 10-year deal back in 2009, meaning that Ford still has five years and almost $12 million coming to him.
The most important note?
The school has no buy out.
If they want Ford out, they have to pay him the remainder of his salary, and I’m not sure even T. Boone Pickens is willing to shell out that kind of cash for basketball.
It’s no wonder that the Cowboys can no longer fill up Gallagher-Iba Arena. They have a head coach that the fans hate, that couldn’t get the Pokes out of the opening round of the NCAA tournament despite having two seasons with Smart, Nash and Brown on the roster, and it doesn’t look like it will get any better anytime soon.
Ford’s always been able to recruit, but it will be interesting to see if players still want to join a program that’s clearly not in a good place these days.
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