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Ford calls out freshman Murphy before Bedlam game

Ford calls out freshman Murphy before Bedlam game

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Just in time for the Bedlam rivalry game, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford is calling out freshman Kamari Murphy to get back on his game.

Murphy inherited the job as the Cowboys' starting power forward when Michael Cobbins broke his big toe at the start of the season, but his production has fallen off lately.

``He knows I'm not happy with him right now. He knows that,'' Ford said before practice Thursday. ``I'm not making any excuses for him. Freshman, senior, whatever, you're expected to perform at a level, especially when you've shown you can play at that level for us. He's done it at the beginning of the year.

``Freshmen have a little bit different mentality sometimes. They embrace success very quickly and can kind of get content a little bit. We're aggressively talking to him about that, but he knows I'm not happy with the way he's playing right now and he's not overly excited about it either.''

And Murphy isn't alone.

Ford's squad has scuffled after a hot start, dropping out of the Top 25 after back-to-back losses last week against ranked opponents. He wasn't much more pleased about a sloppy performance in a 63-45 victory against TCU on Wednesday night, with a season-worst 24 turnovers preventing the Cowboys (11-3, 1-1 Big 12) from doing more with a strong shooting performance.

``It was just disappointing for me. I was pretty upset,'' Ford said.

Ford said he was on the fence about whether to drop Murphy from the starting lineup because he's also seeking more consistency from Cobbins. Their next game is Saturday at Oklahoma (10-3, 1-0).

``That's a possibility. I haven't made any decisions yet,'' Ford said. ``But that's always something players want to shoot for and coaches know that's not a big deal. You couldn't have told me that, though, when I played. So, I understand that. I really didn't grasp that until I became a coach.''

Even though Murphy went scoreless in a loss to Gonzaga last week, that's not what Ford is concerned about. The Cowboys' three losses this season have come in games when they've been outrebounded by at least 10, and that's where Murphy can be a factor.

He had been averaging 6.9 rebounds through the first nine games of the season, but has had just one rebound in three of the past five games.

``His game's not based on scoring or based on anything like that,'' Ford said. ``What he can do, he can be consistent at. I can understand going into a shooting slump. But I don't accept things that you can control that you're not doing right now.''

Oklahoma State dominated rebounding 40-17 against TCU on Wednesday night. Ford said he thought the Cowboys were more focused on rebounding, but also that TCU didn't crash the boards that hard.

``I don't think we've reached the peak yet, but I feel like what we've been doing, we've been doing pretty well. Even without rebounding the ball, we still had big close games against top-ranked schools,'' Markel Brown said. ``I think we're doing pretty good as of now, but it can get better.''

The Sooners have won eight straight on their home court in the series. Oklahoma State hasn't won in Norman since 2004, when it went on to win the Big 12 championship and reach the Final Four.

``This game is never an easy game for us,'' Brown said. ``So, we're going to have to be prepared no matter what.''

It'll be the Bedlam debut for Murphy and fellow freshmen Phil Forte and Marcus Smart, the Cowboys' second-leading scorer.

``I could feel the atmosphere from just sitting on my couch watching it. You could just feel how crazy and how loud and how everything was going,'' Smart said. ``It looked fun to play in. I'm very excited and can't wait to play in it.''

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—OTA report, fans excited about young D-line

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—OTA report, fans excited about young D-line

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 25, 62 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Trades, misses and mistakes explain Redskins' dead cap—This post does a good job of outlining where the Redskins’ dead cap came from. It should be noted that dead cap is a part of the cost of doing business in the NFL and the Redskins have done fairly well managing it this year. Only about a dozen teams have less dead cap on the books than the Redskins $5.2 million. 

Tandler's Take—The best- and worst-case scenarios for the 2018 Redskins—I received some comments saying that my worst-case scenario, a 6-10 finish, is not low enough. Since we’re talking about events that won’t begin to happen for about three and a half months, I can’t really argue with them. But it’s just hard for me to see them dropping more than a game from last year when they were hit harder with injuries than any other team in the NFL. 

Pre-OTAs Redskins player one-liners, defense—An extension for Matt Ioannidis seemed preposterous a year ago, now it seems like a good idea. How many sacks for Lanier? When will Ryan Anderson get his first sack? Plus offensive player one-liners here

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp—You can’t tell everything from OTAs, but you can tell some things. Taking another look at this post, I gave a good, detailed look at the session, but I didn’t really mention the overall feel, which was fun and energetic. 

Tweet of the week

Certainly, Derrius Guice is the fan favorite of the rookie class. But the great reaction to this tweet shows that there is plenty of love for Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, last year’s top pick. 

In 2016, the starting defensive line consisted of Ricky Jean Francois, Chris Baker, and  Ziggy Hood. The top reserve was Cullen Jenkins. They all had their good qualities and made some plays. But Baker was the youngster of the group and he turned 30 during the season. It clearly was a group on the decline. 

Two years later, the picture is quite different. Payne and Allen lead a younger group that will get better over the next few years. Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Tim Settle, and Stacy McGee should round out the group. McGee is by far the senior member of the group at age 28. None of the others have celebrated his 25thbirthday yet. 

Fans should perhaps temper their optimism with the knowledge that potential doesn’t always develop into performance. But unlike years past there is something to look forward to. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 18
—Training camp starts (7/26) 62
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 76

The Redskins last played a game 145 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 107 days. 

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