Senior Spotlight: Hoopster James "Truck" Ford
A heart for God and a penchant for the trifecta
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Known for a tender heart and killer three-point shot, James Ford graduated from Southwestern Assemblies of God University having lit up as many smiles as he did opponents.
Stubbornly likeable, the 6’0 senior hails from Victoria, Texas, the hub city of a seven county area that serves over 250,000 people some fifty miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
Serving people. It’s in the Ford family blood.
James’ parents, Walter and Bonita, have set the pace. They are pastors at New Wine Fellowship Ministries in Victoria.
Ford, whose moniker is “Truck,” for his strong, stout build, finished four seasons on the basketball court for the SAGU Lions.
"One day in practice a few years ago," he explained, "Duce (Nathaniel Ward) said I was built 'Ford Tough,' from their commercials, then he called me Truck. And it stuck."
Under his leadership as a co-captain, the squad advanced to the NAIA National Championship game in March.
His skill at draining long distance (20 feet, nine inches) shots from beyond the arc became his calling card. Like NBA great Vinnie the “Microwave” Johnson, Ford could heat it up quickly.
Like Johnson, Truck delivered off the bench. During his junior and senior seasons under Head Coach Donnie Bostwick heplayed in 75 games, starting four - all this season.
His freshman and sophomore campaigns were under former Head Coach Jerry Boone, appearing in 59 and starting in twelve – all as a sophomore. He averaged a career best 9.7 ppg that year.
He sank 133 career triples. His 36.2 accuracy ranks him #5 all-time on the school’s career leader board.
Midway in his senior season he tweaked the mechanics of his unorthodox shooting style, and it resulted in a 9-for-53 slump (.170) in the final 19 games.
He was knocking down 40% (34-of-85) in the first 18 games. Otherwise, he would have threatened to move into the Top 2.
Ford averaged over 10 points per game until the middle of January before finishing at 7.2 ppg. He netted double-digit games on 12 occasions this season. His career best was 17 as a sophomore.
Forty-one times in his four seasons he scored 10+ points or higher, eclipsing 20 on five occasions. His play usually fueled the team to victories.
While he rattled home a number of treys during the Lions’ 33-5 campaign this year, perhaps his most valued bucket was a layup inthe opener of the NAIA tournament in Kansas City.
Trailing the No. 26 ranked University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, 49-44, and momentum in the hands of the Drovers, Ford scored.
USAO’s man-to-man defense had SAGU covered like an umbrella. Suddenly, as the shot clock was about to run out on Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / Parkview HS), who had the ball at the top of the key.
He spotted Ford back-cutting inside the low block.
A quick, overhanded pass and the ensuing layup triggered a 9-3 run as the Lions avoided a quick exit with a 62-58 triumph. Coach Bostwick called it the key play of the game.
"I remember that play," he recalled. "I pretended like I was was sprinting to the three point line and then cut backdoor and 'E' spotted me at the right time."
"Our post (players) are pretty good passers at times, but they don't always get recognized for it."
His career best came when he, as a “Monster Truck,” swished 8-of-12 shots, including four treys in a 28-point eruption on March 11, 2010.
On that night the Lions stunned the #1 seeded (NAIA D2) Dallas Baptist University (18-11), 92-87, before a packed Sheaffer Center. It was during the NCCAA Central Regional tournament.
"My role was pretty easy," he said this week. "I just look for what the defense gives me and then I aggressively go after it, on offense and defense."
"The three-point shot came natural for me. I was always confident and I let it fly."
In typical form, when he ripped the nets on another successful trifecta, he would thrust one finger to the sky as he back-peddled on defense.
He was also had a 70% eye on free throw attempts. He drew many fouls as he fearlessly ventured into the lane against larger foes. It was another description of his willingness to go the distance to help others.
His life modus operandi was similar to the words of entrepreneur E. Joseph Cossman, who said “Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.”
James "Truck" Ford Bio
Name: James Ford
Birthplace: San Antonio Tx
Parents: Bonita and Walter Ford, Sr.
Siblings: Walter Ford, Jr. (also an athlete at SAGU) (age 28)
High School: Faith Academy (Victoria, Tx)
Motivational Theme: Being successful comes with obstacles
Favorite Restaurant in Waxahachie: Olive Garden
Major at SAGU: Psychology
Career Direction: Counsel kids in schools
Immediate Plans: Grad School, where, I'm not sure.
Question #1) What were your reasons for choosing SAGU?
James “Truck” Ford: God, My older brother went here and I was comfortable with the school and the people.
Q2) How would you summarize your accomplishments (athletically) at SAGU?
Truck: Humbled, Greatly blessed and just thanking God for the opportunity to play basketball.
Q3) What did you enjoy most about the SAGU experience?
Truck: The people.
Q4) What did you most enjoy about chapel?
Truck: It’s always a place to have a private time with God.
Q5) What was the most pleasant surprise you experienced at SAGU?
Truck: Didn’t realize everyone was so friendly at first when I got here. Some people maybe too friendly. lol
Q6) What were favorite memories of playing at SAGU?
Truck: Playing with teammates that were such good role models on and off the court.
Q7) What did you most appreciate from the athletic leadership on your team?
Truck: The team and the coach pushed me academically, spiritually and physically on the court.
Q8) Did you ever participate in any ministry or service projects your team did?
Truck: We often would go to elementary schools and read to and play with the kids. It was a way to serve and to give back.
Q9) Your biggest win? What happened?
Truck: The biggest win was when we played at Texas College this year. They are always well coached and are tough to beat. We were down by 25 and came back and won (77-71) on the road. We cut it to 44-33 by halftime.
Q10) Describe the competition you faced in the NAIA?
Truck: I believe the competition always balanced out.
Q11) What dynamic of the game will you long for the most?
Truck: The intensity of the game, whether we win or lose.
Q12) What would you have liked to have received or accomplished while wearing the purple and gold?
Truck: Just knowing that I was part of one of the best teams in SAGU history is enough for me.
Q13) Any post-college hopes to utilize your athletic career?
Truck: That’s all in God’s hands.
Q14) How would like to be remembered as a player?
Truck: Competitive, fearless and humble. That I was confident in myself and my teammates.
Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at email@example.com or at 469-658-2847.