Oklahoma State men's basketball coach Travis Ford doesn't have much of an idea what position incoming freshman Marcus Smart will play for the Cowboys this coming season.
But that's the beauty of it.
“We can put Marcus at pretty much every position except maybe center at this point, because he can do it,” Ford said during Thursday's Big 12 media teleconference. “He could be a great point guard. That might be his best position, because he sees the court, he passes the ball, he handles the ball and he's a natural leader.
“Obviously, he can play the 2 (shooting guard). He can play the 3 (small forward). He can play the 4 (power forward). And that's kind of how we play. We give our guys freedom to kind of use our talents. We put a lot of guys at a lot of different positions, always have. So he really fits the way we play.”
Smart will arrive in Stillwater in July because he will play for the U.S. National Team at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Brazil later this month. Ford called Smart's summer busy, but added he expects the experience of playing international ball to be a positive one for the incoming freshman.
“First of all, to represent the USA and play for USA Basketball is always a great experience,” Ford said. “From everybody I've talked to out there, he's been what I expected — kind of a leader of the team and has obviously played extremely well and has been a big, big hit for everybody.”
MARKEL BROWN TAKING BIGGER LEADERSHIP ROLE
The Cowboys lose just one senior from their 2011-12 squad. But it's Keiton Page, the team's leading scorer and unquestioned leader.
Who does Ford expect to fill that role? Markel Brown, who was Page's roommate, has been making an early case.
“I believe we can replace the points,” Ford said. “But that leadership you talk about is the biggest area that we're really looking to, ‘Who's going to replace that?' Because Keiton's one of the best leaders I've ever had, so that is kind of a work-in-progress right now.