MVSU mourns loss of former basketball great
September 7, 2004
ITTA BENA, Miss. – One of the all-time leading scorers
in Mississippi Valley State University and NCAA basketball
history has died.
Alphonso Ford, who starred at Mississippi Valley State between
1989 and 1993, died last Friday in a Memphis, Tenn. hospital.
The funeral for the 32-year-old Greenwood, Miss. native will
be held at 11 a.m. Friday on the MVSU campus.
Ford averaged 29.0 points during an illustrious career that
saw him score 3,165 points, both school records. The other
school records he owns include most points scored in a single
game (51 vs. Texas Southern on Feb. 19, 1990), most points
scored in a single season (915 in 1990-91), best season scoring
average (32.9 ppg. in 1990-91), most field goals scored in
a single season (325 in 1990-91), most field goals attempted
in a single game (35 vs. Jackson State in 1993), most field
goals attempted in a single season (668 in 1990-91), most
career field goals attempted (2,469) and most free throws
made in a single game (18 vs. Southern Univ. on Feb. 8, 1993).
Nationally, Ford's 29.9 scoring average in 1989-90 was tops
in the NCAA among freshmen. He sophomore average of 32.9
points ranked second among all Division I players. His 3,165
career points is fourth best in the history of college basketball.
Following completion of his senior year, Ford and teammate
Mark Buford were both drafted by NBA teams. Ford was taken
by the Philadelphia 76ers. He went on to star professionally
while playing basketball oversees.
Lafayette Stribling, Ford's college head coach, said his
former pupil was a model student both on and off the court.
"Al was one of the best offensive players I ever coached," said
Stribling. "When he had his game going, he was unstoppable.
He could shoot it. He could elevate and get his shots off.
He was an offensive whiz who believed no one could stop him.
With him on your team, you were never out of any ball game."
Equally impressive, according to Stribling, was the high
level of respect everyone had for Ford off the court.
"Al was a guy that everybody liked," said Stribling. "He
had that smile. He was a respectable guy. He was the guy
that all of the teammates liked. The student body just loved
Among the honors Ford received at MVSU were his selection
as Southwestern Athletic Conference freshman of the year
in 1989, first team All-SWAC selections throughout his career
and All-America honors.