Former SOSU players look back at the Rodman days

Published: May. 3, 2020 at 10:26 PM CDT
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You've probably seen him featured in a recent documentary, but Before his hair was green, and he had five NBA championship rings, Dennis Rodman was known as something different all together.

For three seasons at Southeastern Oklahoma State, Rodman found a home for himself at Bloomer Sullivan Gymnasium.

He averaged 25 points and 15 rebounds a game, leaving no doubt that he gave it his all.

"He was like a kid playing a game. He loved it. You could tell by the emotion, he just enjoyed playing the game," said former teammate, and current Kingston ISD employee Philip Stephens. "Especially game time when the crowd was there."

"He was a spark plug for us. He has so much energy to him," said former teammate, and current Durant assistant superintendent Kenny Chaffin. "He was enthusiastic about the game. No doubt about it. He brought a whole new level of playing for all of us."

In the Mid-80's Bloomer Sullivan gymnasium was the place to be. In it's hey-day, every seat was full, and standing room was just as hard to come by.

All because basketball fans wanted to see Rodman and the Savages.

"People would try to show up to the games 2 hours ahead of time," said Stephens. "There was always talk of the fire marshal shutting the door and not letting any more in."

When his time with the Savages came to an end, he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the 2nd round of the 1986 NBA draft, and later grew into a role as the best defensive player in the game.

During his time in the league, it was common to see his state line of 20 plus rebounds and less than 5 points a game, which spoke volumes about his team mentality.

"He had natural ability, and he had natural emotion. You don't see that very often," said Stephens. "Just to see him go to the NBA, and be a role player, meant that he loved the game."

"The difference between Dennis Rodman in the NBA, and Dennis Rodman at Southeastern, he used to score a lot of points," said former teammate, and current Hugo boys basketball coach Darnell Shanklin. "A lot of people don't realize that. If he had been on a different team, if the needs were different, he could have put up more points."

Rodman would go on to average 13 rebounds and 7 points a game over his 14 year career, sending a kid from Southeastern Oklahoma State University to the hall of fame.

"Sometimes being from a small school, you don't know it you're going to get the opportunities, and get recognized like you should," said Shanklin. "It was nice to get Dennis get the opportunity to go on to the next level. Dennis was an extremely hard worker, he deserved it."

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