Oklahoma State’s top three scorers were surrounded by their teammates, who joined them on the stage set up in the middle of the student union. It was the idea of the returning players to hold the press conference at the student union to share the good news with the OSU fans.
However, the idea for all three players to stay was not a joint decision. According to the players, each made their own minds up — though admitting the knowledge of Smart’s decision to return weighed into the process somewhat.
“I guess you could say it played a little role. We all made decisions on our own and with our families and coaching staff,” Brown said. “We just sat down and really talked about what was best for us. I feel like we all came up with staying one more year would be the best thing to do. Even though we all could have done what we’ve dreamed of, it’ll still be there after next year. We just had to make the decision on our own.”
Smart said he had made up his mind following Monday’s Devon Energy College Basketball Awards banquet in Oklahoma City, where he received his national Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year trophy. At the banquet he was given some sound advice from Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and had the opportunity to talk with National Player of the Year Trey Burke, who had also decided to stay for a second year at Michigan and led them to a spot in the NCAA championship game.
“I’m not saying it works for everybody, but it definitely worked for him. He increased his potential and his stock, but he also increased his self as a player, as a person and maturity-wise,” Smart said. “He told me when he first got to college that he was gone, but then reality kicks in. He enjoyed the college life, enjoyed being a kid and decided to stay.”