Derrian Ford boarded the Muss bus on Sunday afternoon.
Magnolia High’s senior MVP and two-time Arkansas Class 4A Basketball Tournament MVP has signed his NCAA National Letter of Intent to play the sport for the Arkansas Razorbacks under coach Eric Musselman.
The event took place in front of around 300 supporters at the new MHS Performing Arts Center.
The ceremony was accompanied by comments from Panthers basketball coach Ben Lindsey, Ford’s parents – Darnell and Tiffani Ford – and the young star himself.
Magnolia was 23-5 in Ford’s first year, which included the 2019 State Championship. The tournament run began a winning streak that spanned 54 games. Magnolia was 26-0 in 2020 and was set for a second straight league game against Little Rock Mills. The emerging COVID-19 crisis closed the championship tournament hours before their scheduled revenge. Magnolia was 23-0 in 2021 before losing their State semi-final game to Morrilton.
“We shared endless memories together – some good, some not so good. Life’s experiences have taught us lessons, but through it all we have never forgotten where our help is coming from, ”said Ms. Ford.
“Right now, right now, I want to tell you how proud I am of the young man you’ve become. “
Magnolia’s basketball coach Ben Lindsey had a question for his senior.
“People have asked me about my favorite moments from Derrian. I just want to make sure you haven’t finished, right? Are you going to play a few more games for Magnolia? It’s a bit like a leaving party.
Lindsey said Ford averaged 23 points per game last season, but Lindsey recalled a 4-point performance against Camden Fairview. Magnolia won by a wide margin. “He doesn’t care because we win.”
Ford’s consistency and mental toughness are his greatest assets, both in the classroom and on the pitch.
“There is no doubt that he is the most accomplished player who has ever played here,” said Lindsey.
Ford’s poise and poise were emphasized by his father, Darnell Ford. The elder Ford recalled that his son was thrown in court during a travel team match in Little Rock, causing blood to be spilled.
“Dude, I went to the field. I wanted to fight the coach, I wanted to fight – I know it was a kid but I wanted to fight the kid. (Derrian) was there in a pool of blood but he reached out and took my arm and said, ‘Daddy, don’t worry about that. We are well. We’re fine, ”said Ford.
Even more unbelievably, his son returned to the game and subsequently shook hands with the opposing coach, his assistant and the player who knocked him out.
“It taught me a lesson. He is different. He’s different, ”Ford said of his son.
“I just want to honor God for letting this day happen,” the Razorbacks signatory said.
Ford thanked the coaching staff for trusting him in letting him “do things that I thought were a good way for me to play basketball.
“I want to thank my teammates. I want to thank them for letting me play my game. I know sometimes they wish they could shoot the ball more, but they understand their role and I’m grateful to play with them, ”said Ford.
Ford thanked his mother for all she did to support herself and her siblings. “No one sees the whole time she is recording games, she cooks, she cleans, she wakes us up for school every day. She can get restless sometimes, but she is always there for me and my siblings. .
“I see the things you do and I am very grateful for everything you do.”
Ford said “there haven’t been enough words yet” to describe his father.
“My dad, my best friend, my trainer, my cover man when mum takes it out on me – daddy, thank you so much.”
“He taught me everything I know about basketball. Without you, we wouldn’t have this day.
“My dad teaches me so much about life. Sometimes when we go to the gym we don’t even work out. We’re just talking, ”Ford said.
“My father always supports me. He has so much confidence in me. He has more confidence in me than I have in myself.
With that, Ford sat down at a long table surrounded by his family and signed his national letter of intent with the Razorbacks.
The crowd ended the event with a traditional University of Arkansas pork call.