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August 15, 2013

Ford starts 2014 class with JuCo PG

With the anticipated departure of sophomore phenom Marcus Smart following the upcoming season, it stands to reason that the Oklahoma State coaching staff would at least entertain the idea of bringing in a junior college point guard to help mitigate some of the void left by a lottery pick.

Despite being firmly in the recruiting mix for top 2014 targets Emmanuel Mudiay and Dominic Magee, the Cowboy staff attended the annual Jerry Mullen's JuCo Top 100 Camp in July and saw enough from State Fair C.C. product Joe Thomasson to offer him a scholarship coinciding with reports that he may have been the top guard prospect on site.

"We got out of school in May and I started talking to Oklahoma State probably in the middle of June," said Thomasson about when the initial OSU interest started.

"Me and Coach Middleton, we were building a great bond and that's when Coach Ford came into play and we started talking. After that they saw me at the Mullen's Camp and they had seen me play last year. They used to come and watch my homeboy Kenny Chery so they had seen me play multiple times so that's when the interest came but the offer really came down after the Jerry Mullen camp. That's when I was supposed to be on a team with some of the upper elite players and going against upper elite players and I really showcased what I can really do and that's when the offer came."

With the verbal offer in hand Thomasson decided to jump on the opportunity yesterday and committed to the Cowboy program over a number of other scholarship offers.

"They're bringing me in because of course Marcus Smart is going to be the best point guard in college this year after the season that he had last year. I'm pretty sure he's going to the league and after that they lose another one of their scorers who is a senior this year (Markel Brown). So there's nobody else there that can really score the ball through the one or the two besides the white kid Forte. I know he can really score the ball but he's more of a shooter and they're bringing me in because they like big point guards and I'm exactly what they're looking for," he said.

"I'm not as big as Marcus Smart body-wise but height-wise I believe he is 6'4" and I'm 6'4" almost 6'5" and they'd seen that I averaged [five] assists last year so I'm just looking forward to coming in to contribute and play my role. I'm not trying to come in and be Marcus Smart or none of that. He hasn't had nothing but success on the big college level so I'm going to come in and play my role and contribute and do whatever they ask me to do," Thomasson added.

Having initially signed with Wright State out of high school in 2012 as a Prop 48, Thomasson ultimately failed to qualify academically and ended up at SFCC where the 6-foot-4, 165-pounder averaged 14.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and 5.0 apg last year as a true freshman while shooting 78.4% from the free throw line and 40.9% from beyond the arc.

Those types of numbers will certainly get you noticed and while he can admittedly put the ball in the bucket Thomasson says he gets a bigger kick out of getting his teammates involved.

"I can shoot it," he said. "I can knock it down and I've got a lot of range and I think I showcased that. They knew I could shoot, I think I averaged three three's a game last year, but I really showed I could shoot the ball at the Mullens camp. I really impressed a lot of coaches with the way I shoot but I'm more of a passer. I'm a 6'4" point guard, like a legit point guard. I really enjoy passing the ball and making my teammates better around me. If I've got a fast break and I can score my 45th point and I see I've got a high flyer coming behind me I'm the type of player that'll throw it off the backboard just because I enjoy making my teammates happy just as well as me being happy. As long as I'm winning I don't really care about scoring. I like to get my team the ball but if it comes down to it I can score the ball."

It is that type of versatility that clearly caught the Cowboy coaching staff's eye and while they have clearly become familiar enough with his game, Thomasson is looking forward to acclimating himself with the OSU campus during his official visit in a few weeks.

"I'm coming down on the 12th of September," he confirmed. "I was going to take an early visit but I want to get to feel the college atmosphere. Coach Middleton said he was going to take me around and show me the players in class, where my classes will be, where I'll end up staying, and bringing my family. We're going to go to the football game on Saturday and have a good time and they said they're just going to break it down to me piece by piece."

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