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Oklahoma State basketball: Marcus Smart, Le'Bryan Nash, Markel Brown announce they're returning for next season

by John Helsley Published: April 17, 2013

STILLWATER — Marcus Smart and Co. brought the rowdy back to Gallagher-Iba Arena.

On Wednesday, Smart, Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash brought some rowdy to the Student Union.

Oklahoma State students, administrators and fans packed the place, cramming into every space in the three-story atrium of the facility. Many leaned over guardrails, peering down to the ground floor where OSU's three amigos would carry out their decision day.

There were “Orange Power” and “Final Four” chants. And there were frequent screams of “I love you …”

And then it escalated, with first Nash, then Brown and finally Smart stepping to the microphone to announce he'd be back for another season, drawing a roar of approval with each confirmation.

Orange power indeed for the Cowboys going forward, as they're all but certain to enter next year as the overwhelming Big 12 favorite and a potential top-10 team.

Smart's return is most notable, considering he'd been projected as a high pick — maybe even No. 1 in certain scenarios — in the June NBA Draft. Yet after wrangling with the decision to stay or go for weeks, volleying back and forth on a daily basis, one more run with his pals and more time as a “kid” were the clinching factors in his return.

“To be honest, even when I made the decision, I still went back and forth,” Smart said. “‘Am I making the right decision? Am I sure?'

“It just came down to, ‘Am I ultimately happy about it?' You can only be a kid once. Once you take that step and go to the next level, it's business. You're no longer a kid. You go on to the real world. I'm only 19.”

Not that it was an easy decision for Smart. Both sides offered great appeal, with the NBA promising a multi-million-dollar bank account. “I'm aware how much money I'm giving up,” Smart said. “I am aware of that. It's a lot of money. But I feel like I made the right decision.”

But in the end, Smart said, it wasn't a decision built on money.

“I definitely pinched myself a couple times,” Smart said. “Those kind of numbers are obscene. I don't come from a family where money is a big deal. So my thing is, how can you miss something you never had? I've never had money like that.

“There's much more to life than money. You can have all the money in the world and still be unhappy. If it's meant to be, God has a plan.”

Smart's decision instead was built on family. And friends.

And faith.

Having lost one brother to cancer and nearly losing another to drugs. Having run from bullets and anger issues and depression himself as a youngster growing up in a bad neighborhood. Having witnessed and dealt with all that, Smart said faith is his one unfailing place to turn.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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