By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
At 5-foot-9, 195 pounds, Oklahoma State freshman guard Phil Forte will no doubt draw plenty of comparisons to former Cowboy great Keiton Page — who graduated at 5-9, 165 pounds.
And if he continues to shoot the 3-pointer like he did in Thursday's exhibition against Ottawa (Kan.) University, those comparisons will likely never change.
Forte was 5 for 10 from long range — including a 4 for 5 performance in the first half — with many of his shots coming off a similar screens set for Page during his Cowboy career. And with Forte's height, it's a play he will likely run plenty in his four years at OSU.
"I know that at my height, with the athletes that we'll eventually be playing, I'm going to have to have a quick release in a small space," Forte said. "I've got to be able to get my shot off."
Fortunately for Forte, he has Page — the program leader in 3-pointers made — on the OSU coaching staff to help him in his first year in Stillwater.
"I love having KP on the staff. I'm just trying to be a sponge and absorb everything he's telling me," the freshman guard said. "He gives me pointers throughout. So I just try to learn as much as I can from him."
Much like when Page was here, Cowboy coach Travis Ford has the same mindset with Forte as he did with the Pawnee native — just shoot it, baby.
"I told him the more shots he takes, the better off we are. If you're open, shoot it," Ford said. "Thats what we're trying to do, get an open shot for a guy that can make it. He can make them.
"He made a lot (Thursday), may not make as many the next game. But he usually takes pretty good ones. I think our guys did a good job of finding him."
While Forte is likely to be one of — if not the — top 3-point shooter for Oklahoma State this season, there is one move he is still hoping learn under the tutelage of Page. The former Cowboy was infamous for being able to pump-fake and draw fouls from around the arc.
"That's what I'm trying to work on. Watching him last year, that's the main thing I'm trying to add to my game," Forte said. "When teams start to scout they'll know I can shoot. So if I give them a ball-fake and lean into them I'll be able to get three shots from the foul line. That's something I'm really trying to take from his game."
While Forte looks to follow along the same lineage of Page on the offensive end of the court, Ford said he was just as impressed with the freshman's defense in his first college game.
"As good as he was offensively, I loved him defensively," Ford said. "I thought he did a great job defensively. I thought he did a great job off the ball, defensively. He helps a lot of people. I really like Phil Forte."