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MVSU mourns loss of former basketball great Alphonso Ford

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

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 him."

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.


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