By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Baseball has a ‘Mr. 3,000’ feat for someone who gets 3,000 hits.
In basketball, points are sort of like hits and in College Basketball; scoring 1,000 points in a four-year span is a difficult feat like getting 3,000 hits.
Behind his 15 points in 34 minutes against Northwest Christian in a 63-60 defeat, Corban University senior Cyrus Ward accomplished the difficult task.
Joining the 1,000 club and becoming just the 28th Warrior to ever don the honor.
“It feels amazing,” said Ward. “I’ve been trying to get that goal since my sophomore year when I realized that I had the potential to really get there.
“So 28 people, including myself, have done it in our school history so it really meant a lot to me to do it.”
The road for the six-foot-six senior also known as “Cy” wasn’t an easy one when he entered his sophomore year however, the first year of the Steve Masten Era.
Masten pointed out that Ward needed to change a few areas of his student-athlete life that year. Become more athletic because he was slightly overweight, focus on the classroom.
“When I first got here, Cy was needing to get a lot better,” said Masten. “It had to do with him being overweight, he was not achieving as well in the classroom as he could.
“So his sophomore season, he was dropping, he was working hard in the weight room. He was working hard on his diet and working in the classroom.”
And the ball rolled for the positive for the senior.
He became more athletic, his mojo was flowing as he was averaging 12 points a game for the Warriors.
“My sophomore year when I started actually playing well enough to average out to get up to 1,000 points; I kind of figured it out. Some of the coaches mention to me that if I kept going the way I was going, then I would be able to reach the goal.
“From there it was just pushing myself to get better so I can reach that.”
For Masten, he saw how limitless Ward’s abilities truly were once Masten saw how hard Ward was working.
“We started to see an immediate gains and I think he got excited because he was seeing that he was getting a lot more athletic and having a bigger impact in the game,” said Masten. “Then last year (Ward’s Junior season) he had a breakout year where he was one of the leading scorers and rebounders in our conference.
Ward’s average spiked to 15.2 points a game to go with 8.9 rebounds a contest as well. He was honored with All-League accolades, received All-Cascade Collegiate Conference honors and received NAIA All-Scholar Team Status.
Not a bad progression for a kid who put his mind to it.
Ten games into his senior season, Ward was averaging 16.6 points per contest and 7.7 rebounds a game entering December 22.
Entering their 11th game of the season versus the Beacons, someone pointed out to Ward that he only needed 14 points to break the 1,000 point barrier; and it was in the back of his mind the whole game.
He got one more than 14 in the three-point loss, and it didn’t hit him until after the game.
“I didn’t really think about it until once we finished the game and the coaches congratulated me, they posted a story about it,” said Ward. “I was really happy about that. I wish we could’ve won the game, it was really close.”
For Masten, looking back on the feat of his senior post player, he is proud of where Ward has come from in a few short years.
“I’m proud of him,” Masten said. “He’s an example of a guy that had a choice to make. He made a choice to get better in several areas of his basketball life and now he’s an All-Elite player which what we need.
“It’s nice to see him get rewarded for the hard work he put in.”
Leading by example and portraying the team message of ‘Team First’, Ward turns his focus back onto helping his team reach new heights.
“It’s a great accomplishment to actually get it but our season is not over yet,” he said. “We still have a lot of games left. We want to push beyond that and get to the National Tournament this year.
“There’s a lot more goals for our team than getting a 1,000 points.”
As for 1,500 points though? Ward smiled and responded with:
“I don’t know about that,” he laughed. “I’m hoping for around 1,300.”
Ward, entering December 30’s game versus Linfield sits 28th on the list of 1,000 point list, 32 points behind Steve Adams for 27th.
For an extensive list of all 28 ‘Mr. 1,000’s’ in Corban Warrior history, including Ward, check out the Corban Page link here: http://corbanwarriors.com/sports/2009/11/13/111309_MBX1000Pts.aspx?path=mbball
Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81!
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