DALLAS — Cheryl Ford's emergence as a powerful part of the Louisiana Tech women's basketball team may be of interest to NBA fans who follow her father, Jazz star Karl Malone.
But Malone has another child who plays hoops at Louisiana Tech, and he faces even greater pressure than his in-the-spotlight sister.
"He's going through a tough time," Malone says, "because . . . the son's supposed to be just like the dad."
But Daryl Ford is not the Louisiana Tech star his two-time NBA MVP pop once was. He is a redshirt freshman on the men's team, but he plays few minutes and has no fancy statistics.
"He's fighting and scratching for everything," Malone says. "And it's a hard time for him, because the other guys criticize him."
At 6-2 1/2, it's unlikely an NBA career is in the cards for Daryl as it has been the past 17 seasons for his 6-9 dad, the league's No. 2 all-time scorer.
That's why Malone is pushing his son hard to complete his bachelor's degree program at Louisiana Tech, where Ford is studying forestry.
"I told him, '(Even) if something happens . . . and you don't want to play basketball, get your degree for me,' " says Malone, an offseason Arkansas cattle rancher who envisions Ford some day working with the family's large logging operation.
In the meantime, Ford plows forward with his basketball career, which to this point has not had near the impact of sister Cheryl, the starting center for the nationally ranked Lady Techsters.
"Daryl, he gets overshadowed by her — because she's the better athlete," Malone says. "But he works the hardest . . . Daryl is just a hard worker."