Senior Tribute: NDSU Men’s Basketball’s Tyson Ward

Tyson Ward reflects on his time as a Bison

FARGO, N.D. — On March 10th, North Dakota State men’s basketball won back-to-back Summit League Championships to earn their spot in the field of 68 and the NCAA Tournament, two days later, that chance came to an unfortunate halt when NCAA president Mark Emmert canceled the big dance.

“Sad. Not traumatized but you know you work so hard all year to get to the dance and can’t dance,” senior Forward Tyson Ward said. :You feel like you’re legs are cut off and can’t go anywhere.”

To have to break that news to a group that has accomplished so much and with Ward closing the chapter on his collegiate career without a conclusion was not easy, however, Ward and the other seniors saw the positives in the situation.

“People were joking about it and some people were upset already,” Ward said. “You could tell that everybody was hurting but some people processed it in different ways. “There was just so many mixed emotions in that room. Later that night, we all got together and we basically talked about it. We talked about what we accomplished. You know we could be disappointed but we should also be happy, we made history and it was great to be a part of that history.”

Some of the bracketologists out there had the Bison playing in Ward’s hometown of Tampa Florida, what might have been, could’ve given him the chance to show why he left.

“A dream of mine. The city that’s give me some much love,” Ward said. “I could come home and play in front of them again. I’ve been playing and went so far away from home to play basketball and now I’d get to home and show them why I went so far away and that would’ve been a big thing for me.”

With no march madness, the NCAA talked about the idea of granting a fifth year to seniors who couldn’t play in the tournament before it was put at bay, whether that exemption was put in place or not, Ward was ready to move on.

“I think about is as there’s guys who red shirted last season, if I came back that’d be selfish,” Ward said. “You know its there time. My time’s over, I did my time.”

Looking back on his career, Ward said his impact on the program as an player comes from changing the norm when it came to picking a school.

“A lot of people get caught up in the name of the school and not whether its a good fit for that person and I think that’s what I was trying to do,” Ward said. “Not worry about the name of the school or what conference they were in but just going to make the best of an opportunity.”

When three of your four years as an athlete are winning seasons, two with postseason appearances, there are many memories to look back on.  For Ward, there is one that stands out the most.

“The last Summit League Championship. You know its something you’ll never be able to forget,” Ward said. “Its senior year. The guys I came in with. We got to share our last moment together winning and that was the biggest thing.”

What’s next for Ward? Plans to go pro. When the virus gets controlled enough to start training again, that next step is finding an agent and going from there.

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