The Faith 7 Bowl is a family tradition for Leyton Hammonds in more ways than one.

The Faith 7 Bowl is a family tradition for Leyton Hammonds in more ways than one.

A member of the Texas squad for the 48th annual game, which will tip off at 7:35 p.m. Saturday inside Oklahoma Baptist University’s Noble Complex, Hammonds is not the first from his family to play in the All-Star contest in Shawnee. His brother, Justin, played in the 46th annual game prior to joining the U.S. Air Force Academy’s team.

And it’s new family members that Hammonds will take the court with this weekend.

Hammonds and fellow Texan Jeffrey Carroll, along with Oklahoma All-Star Stephen Clark, will join forces later this year as members of Oklahoma State’s program.

The three future Cowboys were recruited by a number of schools. Hammonds got offers from Stanford, Oregon, Southern Methodist and Big 12 members Oklahoma, Texas, TCU, Kansas State, Iowa State and Texas Tech.

Carroll was approached by TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor and OU, among others, and Clark was approached by more than 20 programs, including Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech and Missouri.

Choosing Oklahoma State was not a tough decision for any of them.

“The visit was the best, and I just fell in love with the campus and the program,” said Carroll, who recently graduated from Rowlett High School.

“They were on me from Day 1,” said Hammonds, who went to Richland High School. “They showed love, and on my first visit, I just fell in love with everything. It’s the perfect place for me.”

Clark, a graduate of Douglass High School in Oklahoma City, said he wanted to give back to his home state.

“Being from Oklahoma and wanting to do something good for my state” was a major factor that lured him to OSU, he said.

Hammonds and Carroll played together for the AAU team the Dallas Mustangs, so they believe there is already a vital connection on the floor.

“I feel like we already have chemistry, and I feel we compliment each other perfectly,” Hammonds said. “And I believe at Oklahoma State we can a lot of damage, because we know each other’s chemistry. Half the job is already done.”

Carroll agrees.

“We already know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

Hammonds and Carroll have already met Clark, and Carroll calls the trio “great friends.”

Clark said Hammonds and Carroll “are cool guys,” and he hopes the three of them can “hopefully make a difference” at Oklahoma State.

“I just want to do my best and give them my all,” Clark said of going to OSU.

Being chosen for the Faith 7 Bowl is “a pretty big accomplishment,” Clark said, “and I’m glad to be here.”

Clark was a member of four consecutive Class 4A state title teams at Douglass.

Hammonds and Carroll are also elated with the opportunity to play in the Faith 7 Bowl.

“It’s a big honor to represent Texas, and represent OSU,” Carroll said.

“It’s a great honor, because my brother played in this game. So it’s almost a family tradition now,” Hammonds said. “And to represent Oklahoma State and show everyone what’s coming.”

The support and warmth of the Shawnee community has been overwhelming, Hammonds said, and Carroll agrees.

“I’ve never felt this much love. The people of Oklahoma are great,” Hammonds said.