Oklahoma State basketball: Five things to watch for the 2013-14 season

Unfinished business. That's the focus and the fuel for Oklahoma State, after the Cowboys were ushered out of last season's NCAA Tournament in an upset loss to Oregon in their opener.
by John Helsley Published: September 26, 2013
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STILLWATER — Unfinished business.

That's the focus and the fuel for Oklahoma State, after the Cowboys were ushered out of last season's NCAA Tournament in an upset loss to Oregon in their opener.

And there are plenty of players who feel that way, with eight players with starting experience returning, led by the Big 12's top three returning scorers — Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash.

It's time to get to work, in earnest, too, with practice starting Saturday for the Cowboys.

Here are five things to watch as the Cowboys get started:

1. How good can these Cowboys be?

Smart's decision to delay his pro career and return for a sophomore season — as the reigning Big 12 Player of the year — coupled with similar decisions by Brown and Nash, immediately established the Cowboys as a Big 12 and national contender. Beyond the big three, there's even more experience and talent, with Michael Cobbins, Brian Williams, Kamari Murphy and Phil Forte all worthy of major minutes and Marek Soucek again pressing for playing time and a cast of newcomers bidding for roles. The ceiling for this team? “There is none, none at all,” Smart said. “It all comes down to us. No excuses. We have everyone back. It all comes down to how the dice rolls and how we make the dice roll. It's up to us. We control our own destiny.”

2. Paint patrol

The Cowboys have seemingly been searching for big men now for several seasons. The hope for 2013-14 is that guy is already in place. Cobbins, who has struggled to add bulk to his 6-foot-8 frame, is up to 230 pounds and insistent that he's ready to be a legitimate big man. “I have to step up,” Cobbins said. “I've got a bigger job this year. Basically, I've got to be a big bruiser on this team and man up down there. Defend the basket like I know how.” Kamari Murphy, Soucek and junior college transfer Gary Gaskins offer depth inside.

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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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