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Oklahoma State basketball: Heaven can wait for this Cowboy trio

Most campus hoop stars count down their time, like sand through the hourglass, until they can go pro. They've got one foot out the door or their new school by the time they get one foot in. Treat their time on campus like Purgatory, until Heaven beckons.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 17, 2013

Like another year of college basketball. Not every 10-year NBA player wishes he had stayed a little longer on campus or could go back. But those that do, can't.

“OSU is where I want to be another year,” Smart said. “I'm a Cowboy at heart.”

This is the kind of talk you hear from Dukies and not much of anyone else. Oh, occasionally a freshman star will return — Blake Griffin, Jared Sullinger — but it's becoming more and more rare.

Smart is not starting a revolution. This won't turn back the tide in college hoops' favor. For every Smart, there still will be 10 Ben McLemores headed for the lottery and 50 Amath M'Bayes headed overseas.

But when it happens, when a 19-year-old kid in the materialistic 21st century makes a decision based not on financial bonanza, he should be celebrated.

OSU president Burns Hargis heard Michigan State coach Tom Izzo talk the other day about most people looking back on the best time in their life.

“The answer was college,” Hargis said. “College was great.”

Nothing reinforced that like the smiles on the faces of Smart and Brown (Nash stays pretty stoic).

“Pretty exciting news,” Hargis said. “I think it's a statement to the group of people Travis Ford has recruited. They just have marvelous chemistry.

“It's a testament to the university, to the program, to the individual. They all, I think, really love it here and everybody loves them. It's great to be in that nurturing environment.”

When the press conference ended, the pep rally didn't. Smart, Brown, Nash and their teammates melted into the crush of students who packed the Student Union atrium. Heaven could wait.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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