Tahlequah Daily Press

September 13, 2013

THS coaches, players meet Westbrook


— On Aug. 24, BancFirst hosted an event in Oklahoma City where 116 high school basketball players and 104 coaches from 45 BancFirst communities across Oklahoma had the opportunity to meet one of the biggest stars in the NBA. Russell Westbrook, point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, sat in the Devon Auditorium and fielded questions from Oklahoma student athletes and coaches.

Those attending from Tahlequah High School were Jake Vader, boys coach Pat Dotson, Miranda Bohanon and girls coach Johnny Dyson.  

Russell discussed his workout routines, gave advice to the students wanting to play at higher levels, gave advice to coaches about how to get the best out of their players, talked about his regrets, disclosed what his first purchase was after he signed his contract (a house for his mom), talked at length about his fashion decisions and everything in between. A recurring theme in his answers was the importance of education, focus and family. He told the crowd about graduating high school with a 3.9 grant-point average, how his father taught him the importance of focusing on achieving his goals, and how he takes classes every summer with the intention of finishing his college degree.

After the question-and-answer session ended, the participants had the opportunity to meet and have a photo taken with Russell.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these kids and coaches to get advice from a current top NBA player,” said Mark Gish, president at the BancFirst branch in Tahlequah. “There were students from rival schools sitting side by side; players from all over the state were sharing this experience together. That sense of community is exactly what BancFirst stands for.”