Ferron Flavors Jr. woke up at 6 a.m. to the sound of his phone blaring.
It was Mike Boynton.
The OSU basketball coach typically calls Flavors on a daily basis, but when Boynton picked up, the tone in his voice was different — Flavors immediately knew it was going to be bad news.
Boynton just laid it out for Flavors — OSU was levied with Level I sanctions by the NCAA, which included a consequential postseason ban that had some people speculating on if players would leave the program.
“When I found out, I was just shocked,” Flavors said. “I was honestly pretty upset. At that moment, I didn’t know whether I would stay or go somewhere else or go play professional. A lot of stuff was going through my mind on that first day.”
Flavors, the graduate transfer from California Baptist, provides not only a strong floor-spacing presence, but also invaluable leadership to a talented, but young OSU team.
When OSU was hit with the ban, there was talk that Flavors may take his talents elsewhere, and for a second, he thought he might as well.
As soon as the OSU news broke, about 15 schools called Flavors and urged him to reconsider his decision to go to OSU.
In an effort to keep a clear mind, he didn’t pick up any of their calls, but he saw the voicemails and messages from the schools that jumped at the chance to have Flavors transfer to their program.
Flavors said it was tempting that first day, but OSU and Boynton gave him the best chance to achieve his long-term goals — tournament or no tournament.
“Being loyal to someone who’s been loyal to you, at the end of the day, it says a lot about the character that you have,” Flavors said. A lot of people don’t know me that well, they just see that I’ve been to three different colleges, they don’t really know me. They don’t really know me and the type of loyalty that I have.”
That’s not to say Flavors didn’t think about the March Madness opportunity OSU is slated to currently miss.
The thought crossed his mind, but a conversation with a player on OSU’s roster stuck with Flavors.
“One of the guys was like, ‘Everybody tries to make it to the tournament to play the teams that are in our conference,’” Flavors said. “In our conference, you have Kansas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State, West Virginia, I can go on and on about the teams in our conference. When people talk, they want to go to the tournament, they want to play those teams.”
And that was a big part of it.
The grad transfer has a goal of reaching the NBA. Proving he could sustain his strong shotmaking prowess against strong competition is a big part of that.
“When I was at a mid-major, I circled Texas on my schedule because I knew that was a big game. But see, now every game is a Texas game, every game is a big game,”
But the tournament wasn’t the only factor, Flavors’ relationship with Boynton played a critical role as well.
The OSU coach made it a point to call all his players personally and tell them the news straight up, with full transparency, before they heard it from the media. And Boynton told all his players he’d 100% support whatever decision they make.
“That was really the only time I talked to him because he told me he just wanted me to let me have my space and really just make a decision based on me,” Flavors said. “That’s something I really appreciated, that really helped me want to stay here knowing the type of man that he is, the type of character that he has. It’s really second to none.
“I wouldn’t feel right leaving a man in a program like this to go play for somebody else just for a possible opportunity to go to the tournament.”
Flavors values the type of person that Boynton is so much. His praise for the OSU coach goes on and on.
Even with that, the fact still remains — there’s still a possibility OSU doesn’t win the appeal and this program faces some more adversity.
But adversity is nothing new for Flavors.
“Really just my whole life, since I started playing competitive basketball, I’ve been on the C teams of AAU programs,” Flavors said. “I’ve been on the end of the bench not playing at 17 AAU where you got 30 college coaches at the baseline. I’ve been in the positions where a lot of these young dudes that are aspiring to get somewhere, I’ve been in.”
With such a young team, Flavors talked about how some of the players haven’t faced adversity of this degree.
But that’s just where Flavors can step in and make a difference. He can share his experiences and be a mentor to many.
“I’ve played in a lot of real competitive games, played for a lot of different coaches, been at junior college where I don’t have a dorm, I don’t have a gym that I can access,” Flavors said. “I’ve been through the whole struggle of everything. Just bringing forth my experiences, I’m going to take a lot of pride in this year with my leadership on the team.”
Flavors is fully on board with this OSU program and the direction it’s heading in. Still, there are many still questioning: where does OSU go now?
“To the top,” Flavors said. “We’ll reach our goals, especially under coach B, coach EP, (coach) Sutton and all our coaches over here. We’ll be just fine. Whether we get our appeal and we’re able to make noise in the tournament or even if we don’t, we’ll still make noise during the season.
“I don’t feel like this has hurt our program. I feel like it’s kind of given us a boost.”