The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 1, 2013

Smart leads Pokes with high expectations

STILLWATER — Marcus Smart likely would have been a high pick in last spring’s NBA draft, but after a protracted decision-making process, the point guard opted to return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore year.

Now the Cowboys are a legitimate contender for the Big 12 title.

Smart, who led the team with 15.4 points and 4.2 assists per game and was second with 5.8 rebounds, believes Oklahoma State is on the verge of a special season.

After going 24-9, including a 13-5 record in the Big 12, last season, the fifth-seeded Cowboys were upset by No. 12 Oregon in the first round of the NCAA tournament, leaving some unfinished business to attend to.

“We’re excited he came back,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “We’ve got a great leader on our basketball team, a guy that we can count on doing it the same way every single day. It’s a joy to coach a guy like that every single day.”

The Cowboys are more than just a one-man team, though. Senior Markell Brown, who averaged 15.3 points and 4.4 rebounds, and junior Le’Bryan Nash, who averaged 14 points and 4.1 rebounds, both return, along with several other key role players.

The rosy outlook leaves Oklahoma State in an unfamiliar position, managing high expectations for a big season. The Cowboys were voted a co-favorite in the Big 12 along with nine-time defending conference champion Kansas.

“We still have a whole lot to prove, we haven’t won anything,” Ford said. “Kansas is still the number one team, no question. We’re in the hunt. This is going to be a tough league.”

Five things to watch as Oklahoma State prepares to launch into 2013-14:

Smart decision: Smart displayed impressive maturity in reaching his decision to return for another season, ultimately acknowledging he wasn’t quite ready for the NBA. “That was my first year playing the point guard position primarily and I just didn’t think I was ready to go at full speed just yet,” Smart said. “I’d rather stay here and have them teach me a lot more before I go to the next level.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing Jeff Gordon wins at Indianapolis for record fifth time

    INDIANAPOLIS — With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again. Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to Tour victory

    PARIS — Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees....

    July 28, 2014

  • Scott says he will coach Lakers

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they’re apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days....

    July 28, 2014

  • BoSox snap Rays’ streak

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, and the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 3-2 Sunday to end a five-game losing streak and stop the Rays’ longest winning streak in 10 years at nine games....

    July 28, 2014

  • The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline Hall of Fame class

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats....

    July 28, 2014

  • Telling The Boss, sorry

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Before he answered a question at the press conference following the Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on Sunday, Joe Torre wanted to address someone he regrettably omitted from his speech....

    July 28, 2014

  • Wainwright bounces back to beat Cubs

    CHICAGO — When St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny visited the mound with two out and two on in the seventh inning on Sunday, he had no idea whether he was going to replace starter Adam Wainwright....

    July 28, 2014

  • A’s rout Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — John Jaso drove in three runs, helping Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 9-3 Sunday night....

    July 28, 2014

  • Clark rallies in Montreal

    MONTREAL — Tim Clark rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday, birdieing five of the last eight holes for a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk....

    July 28, 2014

  • Isner wins another Atlanta final

    ATLANTA — Top-seeded John Isner overpowered Dudi Sela on Sunday to successfully defend his Atlanta Open title, blowing serve after serve past the 5-foot-9 Israeli player in a 6-3, 6-4 victory....

    July 28, 2014