As an athlete, Gabe Simpson has worn multiple numbers in his career.
Earlier this month he added a new one to his collection - 44 - when he successfully earned a spot on the Oklahoma State University basketball team.
He joined the team in time for the game against Kansas State on February 2 at after OSU Head Coach Mike Boynton held a an open tryout.
Former OSU basketball manager Tanner Taylor was added to the roster before the Cowboys’ game against South Carolina, but he did not participate in the tryouts.
This makes Simpson, the 6-foot-3 freshman from Jay, a two-sport athlete for OSU. This fall, he joined the football team as a walk-on member.
On Wednesday, Feb. 13, he saw playing time on the court during the game against the Texas Tech Raiders. The Cowboys fell to the Raiders 78-50 at the Gallagher-Iba Arena.
He's taking on the new sport, all while pulling down a 4.0 GPA at OSU, as a Gates Scholar.
The scholarship, given by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, covers the cost of Simpson's tuition, room and books, gave the triple sport athlete from Jay a chance to complete his dream of playing football for the Division 1 School.
He was one of 300 students within the United States to receive the Gates Scholarship in 2018.
Simpson said he decided to try out for the basketball team after talking with friends.
"I just went for it," Simpson said. "I figured I could make it."
He had just woken up and was heading to his weight training when he got the call he would be added to the team.
"I like the guys on the team and I like the way Coach Boynton coaches," Simpson said.
Simpson's daily schedule includes getting up for weight lifting and breakfast beginning at 6:30 a.m. He heads to class from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
His afternoon starts with lunch, then study time, then basketball practice from 2 to 4 p.m. Then he heads to eat and study, aiming to be in bed by 10 p.m., before it all starts again the next day.
"College is all about time management and balancing fun, school and doing what you get to do," Simpson said.
More about Simpson
Simpson is currently studying chemistry, with the goal of pursuing either a physical therapist or pharmacy degree.
Physical therapy helps him combine science with working with fellow athletes, while pharmacy combines his loves of chemistry and science.
Simpson hopes to be in medical school pursuing either the pharmacy or physical therapy degree within the next five to 10 years.
During his high school career at Jay, Simpson has been involved in multiple athletic programs including football, baseball, basketball and cheerleading.
The son of Brandon Simpson and Dalene Kirk, Simpson was the Class of 2018's Honor Student at Jay High School.