TULSA — Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger acknowledged the Big 12’s strength was enhanced by Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Le’Bryan Nash announcing they’d return to Oklahoma State for another season.
“Very, very good deal for the conference,” Kruger said last week at the OU Caravan in Tulsa. “Tough for all the teams that have to play against them because they’re really good.
“They did a good job this year, in taking a step. Those guys, especially, that decided to stay in school, make them that much tougher. It’ll be great for the conference but tough for all the other teams in the league.”
A true freshman last season, Smart was the Big 12 Player of the Year, and won the Wayman Tisdale Award as the best freshman in the country. He was considered a possible No. 1 overall NBA Draft selection.
OU and OSU split last year’s Bedlam games. The Sooners won 77-68 in Norman, then lost an 84-79 overtime game in Stillwater.