Joe Claxton Guest Writer
Editor’s Note: Following is Part 1 of a three-part series on former Ada High standout Bo Overton, who is the school’s all-time leading scoring in boys basketball. Senior-to-be Cory Kilby is third on the all-time list and has a chance to pass Overton during the 2014-15 season.
Two legends and one in the making gathered for photo shoots and memories in the Cougar Activity Center in late April.
The occasion was twofold: (1) the gratification of a year-long hunger for a famous Folger’s burger after a year coaching a Russian women’s team; (2) a meeting of the Big Three on the all-time Ada Cougar basketball scoring charts.
The top two career scorers in Ada roundball history, No. 1 Bo Overton (1,941, 1976-79) and No. 2 David Taylor (1,521, 1979-82), and upcoming senior Cory Kilby (No. 3 and rising, 1,446, 2012-14), traded basketball stories and anecdotes, some fresh, most long ago and far away.
Along with a campaign for a possible state championship — which would be Ada’s first since Taylor’s senior campaign in 1982 under Darrell Johnson — Kilby will attack the scoring records of first Taylor, then the once seemingly insurmountable total compiled by Overton.
Current head coach Ron Anderson, along with Overton and Taylor’s mentor, Jack Ray and Kilby, met in the CAC that day. He gave his thoughts on the assault on the record book, noting that his 6-7 forward believes records are far less important than winning.
“But it’s neat to see that he may finish his career as the all-time scoring leader for Ada. I played with Bo and coached David, so it’s also special for me that I have actively been a part of all three of these great players. If things go as planned, I expect Cory will pass Bo towards the end of next season,” Anderson said.
“He’s the most coachable kid I’ve ever had. He can pick things up so quickly. You explain to him what needs to be done, and he’ll do it,” Anderson said.
Overton added to the accolades.
“For me, the great thing about it falling is that such a great kid will be doing it. Cory has a great family, and he is someone to look up to for the little kids,” Overton said.
Kilby stands third at 1,446 (2012-14, 82 games, 17.6 average) behind Taylor’s very reachable 1,521 (1979-82, 106 games, 14.4) and Overton’s probable 1,941 (1976-79, 86 games, 22.6).
Kilby has averaged just over 20 ppg the sophomore and junior years.
Overton’s best, 24.3 over 26 games his senior year, translated to 633 points.
His career points ranged from his first two against McAlester as a freshman in the Kerr Dome to closing out with 32 as a senior in the state semis loss to eventual state champ OC Star Spencer, 54-44, at the Del City gym.
“I never really thought much about it. All we were thinking about was winning. Whatever it took — for me to score two or 30. I saw the stats in The Daily Oklahoman once in a while, but it didn’t really matter. We just played, tried to win,” Overton said.
Doctor Kilby, I presume?
Kilby alternates with finesse and power, operating with surgical skill at times and slashing, meat-cleaver dunks at others.
The third leading 4A scorer a year ago, and among the top 10 in the state’s upper classes combined, echoed the thought that team championship hardware ranked above individual honors, but that it is still on his mind.
“Oh, I try not to think about it too much, though it is something I really want to do. I didn’t know anything about him or the records until we had been here in Ada for several years,” Kilby said.
He had not heard of Overton or the record when "the tall kid" hit town in third grade at Washington Grade Center. It wasn’t until much later that he heard of the exploits of Bo from one who coached Overton and would also coach the minor from Goldsboro, North Caroliner.
Ironically, Kilby first heard of Bo the year he started his climb up Mount Overton, when Anderson pulled him up to the varsity as a freshman.
“It was coach (Ron) Anderson in ninth grade telling a story about him. I later met him when I was at a practice at OU (with his father, Pat) and he was there watching, too, and we were introduced,” Kilby said.
Anderson added, “Bo just happened to stop by and they were re-introduced. Bo has been to a few of our practices and games, so Cory has met him a few times.”
Of the current meeting, upon hearing it would be nice to have a photo of the high-scoring trio together, Anderson chuckled that it probably could be obtained for the price of a Folger burger.
“Bo said he is returning from Russia next week, so that would be a great time for a photo. All you’ll have to do to get Bo here is a Folger burger,” he said of the Ada institutions.
Taylor was already back home in Ada and a part of another sovereignty of sorts, as an employee of the Chickasaw Nation.
Back from the U.S.S.R. to Folgers U.S.A.
The reign of the U.S.S.R. is long gone, of course, the nation of Russia having reclaimed its old heritage. Overton called it home, or at least where he hung his hat.
The Folgers homecoming for Overton came after a year in Kursk, Russia, just up the road from the current uproar in Ukraine. The Ada great’s coaching stops — 13 teams, three other countries — are the stuff that non-fiction best-sellers are made of.
Many anecdotes from Overton, the world-traveling coach, were fresh but from far away — his women's teams in Kursk, Russia, the national team of China and the 2012 Olympics in London and his team in Shenyang, the Liaoning Hengye of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association.
Not home in the dome
Actually, the CAC bore no memories for either legend or their old coach. Neither played in the relatively new gym. They did not even play in the old Ada Junior High gym that housed Cougar basketball until the CAC was built. They played in the early days of the Kerr Dome on the ECU campus.
Kilby, too, saw little competition in the AJH gym. Like Overton and Taylor before him, he was quickly kidnapped from the ninth-grade team.
In the CAC, on the wall in the upper level hung tributes to the glories of the past. Alongside portraits of Ada All-State ladies and University of Oklahoma stars La’Neishea Caufield and Caton Hill hung a single homage to the boys, one set of the wild and crazy big stripes warmup of the '70s.
“We certainly did wear those striped warm-ups, but I doubt those belonged to Bo. They could have been anyone’s,” Ron Anderson mused.
FYI, the stripes and stars, La’Neishea and Caton, have been moved to the hospitality room in the CAC.
V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N ... N-O-T
And while summers were once spelled V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N by singer Connie Francis, not so for Kilby, who will be back on the court with the best of the best in Oklahoma preps, AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball.
In May, his day will begin with early morning workouts Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. A couple of weeks off in June, then it is a full slate of Friday-Sunday Summer League tournaments each week with the Oklahoma Phenoms, a Tuttle-based AAU team. Football? Ada’s quarterback will participate in spring camp in May and preseason in August in preparation for Ada football 2014.
Kilby is excited about getting back in action. A hernia on the left side was first noted early in football season, but ignored then and throughout the basketball season. The operation done was done locally at Mercy Hospital in Ada around a month ago, and Kilby has received a full release to get back into action.
A year ago, Kilby was preparing for a summer season of AAU basketball with an elite gathering of state prepsters, each with a long list of prep credentials and press clippings — the Oklahoma Phenoms.
A minor from North Caroliner
When the 2015 edition of the Ada Cougars rolls out onto the court, it will be a different look, with Anderson and Kilby looking to fill two large holes lost to graduation — sharp-shooting Walker Whitworth and 6-7 twin tower David Forbes.
Whitworth, whose outside bombing kept opponents from completely collapsing on Kilby, reset the Ada 3-point shooting records for career and season.
Forbes was as steady as a statue underneath, piling up 150 points to go with 148 rebounds and 24 assists.
Kilby points to returning starters Jamal Henderson and Tryce Prince, along with a supporting cast on the rise.
“Jamal does a lot of things, and he will be back as a good scorer for us,” Kilby said.
The 5-7 senior-to-be guard had 7.1 ppg and dished out 64 assists.
At 6-0, Prince gathered in 75 rebounds, 35 assists and 20 steals along with 5.8 ppg.
“Tryce knows the game in and out, he knows the entire court and what to do,” Kilby said.
Kilby is the Oklahoma Boys Basketball Coaches Association's District Six Player of the Year. It is one of only eight districts in the state, and the District MVP is awarded regardless of grade or class size.
Kilby recently added the Ada News All-Area Boys Player of the Year honor to his stack, a repeat from the 2013 season. Kilby was also selected as a Vype Magazine All-Area Top Five.
The Cougars advanced to area finals, losing to top-ranked Victory Christian, 40-38.
More football as well
A year ago, Kilby returned to the football field after a two-year absence “just because I missed it a lot” and immediately made an impact at a quarterback-receiver-DB combo. Then suddenly, he was handed the football by head coach Matt Weber.
“It was a unique opportunity. All I really did was do what coach Weber told me to do,” Kilby said about taking over the starting signal-caller job when Tryce Prince injured a shoulder in Game 3 against Durant and sat out most of the rest of the season. Kilby passed for 1,275 yards, leading Ada to an 8-4, first-round playoff season.
Claxton can be reached at email@example.com.