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Turning The Keiton Page

Keiton Page will have at least two more games in the Orange and Black. At Kansas State and the Big 12 tournament will be Cowboy fans last glimpse of the little man who always played big enough to shock and piss off opposing fans to no end. Page is short; dunking and inside points are almost impossible for Page, but Monday's game saw Page earn the one glory that nobody ever doubted would be his since his freshman year: the all-time OSU three-pointer record. When Page is on with the three, it is like a rainstorm.

When Page goes for a three there is a moment right before he shoots where he looks like a very well-trained bird dog on point; once his three point opportunity is sniffed out, Page stiffens into the place where years of practice have taken over the reptilian part of the brain where muscle memory lives and allows for the sweet, high arc of a swooshing trey. If there is one thing Cowboy fans will miss about Page, it is the mid-air confidence behind a Page three. When he shoots, we all know it has a better than average chance of going in. A Page three is never a wasted affair, it is a missionary doing God's work, another drop of water in the bucket. And now his work on the court is over.

Keiton seemed tailor-made to be on CBS's sappy "One Shining Moment" montage after the NCAA Championship. His under-sizing and high Basketball IQ would have made for quite a story. In reality, Page only went twice and only got as far as the second round, a scrappy game versus a highly seeded Pittsburgh team his freshman year. The years he got to the tournament are arguably his best years because he had the athletic Byron Eaton and the leadership of James Anderson to play off of and assist to. A player as good as Page deserves to go every year, but Page's size makes him unable to really be any more than an auxiliary man to bigger athletes. Without them, Page became the number one man; a role that never really fit.

There may never be such a big thing to play for the Cowboys in such a small package ever again. When he came to Stillwater, the "Pawnee Pistol" was unsuccessfully nicknamed "Little Country" after Bryant "Big Country" Reeves for a spell. The nickname was an attempt at irony but it failed because nobody who watched Keiton's game for long could dare call it little. Page needed an original nickname because he played an original game. Where as Reeves played basketball as a thundering force, Page plays like the rain; unleashing a steady, gradual torrent that could flood an opponent right off the court if they underestimated him.

Page will be missed and remembered fondly by Cowboy fans, but his absence will come as a relief to all the opposing fans who over the years marveled at the 5'9" kid that was raining threes on the heads of their team. Or outsmarting their team, or just methodically draining free throws, or out-enduring their players, as Page spent more minutes on the court than any other Cowboy. Page has made his desire to coach for OSU known. Maybe this year's losing season is only prelude to a great Keiton coaching career at OSU, a calm before the torrential, drowning storm.