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Travis Ford's Search for Oklahoma State's Floor Leader Continues

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 22: Head coach Travis Ford of the Oklahoma State Cowboys speaks to Keiton Page #12 during a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena on March 22, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Curtis FinchumCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2009

Oklahoma State basketball coach Travis Ford has a team that's 8-1 but has yet to face any real challenge.

That one loss came to in-state rival Tulsa when the Cowboys played without any fire. 

Last season, on a team that made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament, Ford had a player who wanted to win so badly that he brought a sense of urgency to the floor every second he was on it. His name was Byron Eaton. 

Now, Ford must find a floor leader from a group of players who are all unproven in that ability.

His candidates: freshmen Ray Penn or Fred Gulley, sophomore Keiton Page, juniors James Anderson and Marshall Moses, or senior Obi Muonelo.  

Muonelo and Anderson would be the likely choices. However, it doesn't appear to be in their natures.

Anderson plays more of a role like Allan Houston—electric and will provide a spark but not the guy you follow. 

Muonelo, on the other hand, being a senior, just doesn't play leader. His personality is too far from the whole "demanding respect" category. 

Penn and Gulley, though both are extremely talented point guards, do not yet have the respect of their teammates because they are in fact freshmen, though Penn could evolve into that leader down the road. 

All that's left is the undersized Page and the emotional Moses. 

Page, though small (standing at 5'9" if he's lucky), brings high-volume offense to the floor. With range that extends to the parking lot, Page has one thing he has yet to prove: that he can elevate the play of his teammates and make them better. 

Moses, though undersized for a center (standing at 6'6"), has shown over his development these past two years that he can bring energy, urgency, and intensity to the floor. 

Though his offense has yet to become consistent, Moses' rebounding and defensive intensity have never faltered. 

Without the sense of urgency a leader brings to the floor, the Cowboys will continue to play lackadaisically—and when a real test arrives and the Cowboys have a chance to make a statement, they won't be able to. They'll fall flat on their faces.

The Cowboys need someone to step up from the crowd of young men in that locker room; they need someone to follow.

The conference schedule moves closer every day. Time is running out for a team that wishes to continue its run in March.   

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