Smart's status carries the most weight. The Big 12 Player of the Year as a freshman, Smart is a game-changer of the highest regard, delivering production and intangibles. Most players in his position wouldn't hesitate in declaring for the NBA.
But Smart is different in so many ways. And his decision may turn out different, too.
“There's a lot of variables that will play a role in that decision,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “There's a lot of variables with him.”
Beyond the Big Three, the Cowboys return bankable pieces in Michael Cobbins, Brian Williams and Phil Forte, as well as Kamari Murphy, Kirby Gardner and Marek Soucek. Jéan-Paul Olukemi's status remains up in the air.
And help is on the way, with elite recruits and scoring guards in Stevie Clark, Detrick Mostella and Jeffrey Carroll, a center in junior college transfer Gary Gaskins and athletic forward Leyton Hammonds.
“I feel like we're going to have a better year next year,” Nash said. “We'll have experienced guys and we'll have freshmen we need to show the ropes. This goes out to all Oklahoma State fans — we're going to have a better year next year. Be excited for next year.”