UCO Basketball’s Star Forward: Corbin Byford Gets Sixth Year of Eligibility

UCO Basketball’s Star Forward: Corbin Byford Gets Sixth Year of Eligibility

Corbin Byford, 3, passes the ball at the Feb. 27, 2017 playoff game in Hamilton Fieldhouse. (Elizabeth Roberts/ The Vista). 

Corbin Byford, the do-it-all forward for the University of Central Oklahoma’s men’s basketball team, is back as a sixth-year senior to make one last run with the Bronchos.

“It’s pretty rare to get a sixth year, especially to get granted one,” Byford said. “I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity.”

Byford, who transferred to UCO from ORU in 2014, was granted a sixth year after applying for an injury hardship ruling after he tore the labrum in his left shoulder during the 2015-16 season. The injury took place during the second game of the year and forced him to miss the rest of the 2015 season.

“Man, it was tough,” Byford said, “I was completely immobile for eight weeks.”

The 6’6 forward stayed in Edmond during the off season so that whenever he was cleared, he could get to work. Byford spent the summer working out with coach Black, as he progressed through the rehab process, and aimed to excel during the next season.

Byford averaged 13 minutes his first year (2014) with the Bronchos and only played two games during the 2015 season, but those speed bumps wouldn’t slow him down this year.

Byford played in all 29 games for the Bronchos during the 2016 season, starting in 28 of them, and was the second leading scorer on the team with 12.2 points per game on 60 percent shooting. The 60-percent shooting mark Byford had was the second best in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA). He also put up 7.2 rebounds per game- fifth best in the conference- in a season that earned him second team All-MIAA.

“You have to give a lot of credit to my teammates,” Byford said. “My teammates did a great job all year, giving it to me on the block and places that I can score”

Byford mans the front court with another Division I transfer, Jake Hammond. The transfer from Nebraska averaged 10.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

“Next year, I don’t think there will be anybody in the nation that has a better 4-5 combo than us,” Byford said.

With his sixth year upcoming, Byford is one of the veteran voices in the locker room, leading the team on and off the court.

“I love our younger guys,” Byford said. “I hope that I’m a guy that they can look up to, not just on the court, but off the court in the way that I carry myself.”

One way Byford portrays his leadership skills to his teammates is by his work ethic in the classroom. Byford was named to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll in for the second time in his career in 2017. This recognizes student athletes who maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average and have completed two semesters at their school.

“Being an education major you have to value your education as much as, if not more than, your athletics,” Byford said.

From transferring to injuries, Corbin Byford has overcome a lot through his five-year career. Byford now is ready to make is sixth and final year count.

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