STILLWATER — Markel Brown continues to put in hours at improving his all-around game and expanding his profile beyond being defined as just a dunker.
And it shows.
He'll soon be the first player in program history to amass 100 steals, 100 blocked shots and 250 assists. His 1,340 career points rank 18th all-time at Oklahoma State, and he's on pace to crack the top 10 by season's end.
Yet being honest, Brown still digs the dunk.
And plenty of folks dig Brown's dunks.
A frequent flier on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays, the Cowboy senior's athleticism and hops drop jaws almost every time he drops the hammer on opponents.
Windmills. Alley-oops. 360-degree spins.
Brown is the mayor of LobStilly, a land of dazzling dunkers aplenty.
“I have no clue,” said teammate and pal Brian Williams, an impressive leaper in his own right. “It's got to be genetics. He's been doing this since before we got here. He's just so explosive for his size, very explosive.”
And explosive is an appropriate description, since most of Brown's dunks feature great force — from a 6-foot-3 guard.
Maybe that's what makes him so appealing to the folks at ESPN, who have taken Brown's jam sessions to the nation's masses going on three straight seasons. He's hit No. 1 once already this season, taking what he called a “great bad pass” from Phil Forte and turning it into an in-air, 360-degree throwdown on Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
ESPN used his three-dunk performance against Robert Morris as a montage at No. 3.
And those are just the latest.
“When I do one of those dunks, immediately I get tweets saying, ‘Markel's going to be on SportsCenter.' Things like that,” Brown said. “I like doing those type of dunks. It's exciting. It gets the crowd pumped up. It gets my teammates some hype.
“People are excited about those kind of things. Being able to have my school show up on SportsCenter for Top 10 plays is awesome.”
Almost as soon as Brown produces something special, an alert goes out on Twitter.
Of course, his teammates sense it even sooner.
“I definitely know when he's made SportsCenter, just from being around him so long,” Williams said. “He has a lot of bounce and he's not afraid to use it.”
Brown's freak athletic skills allow him to freelance on the fly, although he admits there's some practice involved, too.
It doesn't take long for the residents of LobStilly to stir things up on the side.
“Me, Brian, Marcus (Smart) and a couple of other guys will get in here after practice or after working out and start working on dunks,” Brown said. “It just starts with someone running up and dunking. And then we follow the lead and it escalates into like a mini dunk contest.”
Said Williams: “There will be one guy dunk. Then another guy will try to outdo the other one. And it just keeps going until we get tired.”
Brown's dunking ability has been impressive enough to get Desmond Mason to rise from a courtside seat inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. Mason has always been considered OSU's all-time dunk specialist, although Brown may be gaining on him.
Fittingly, Brown claims Mason as one of his favorite dunkers, along with Vince Carter and Gerald Green.
“I don't know too much about Desmond,” Brown said. “I know he played with the Seattle SuperSonics for a while. I actually didn't know that he went to Oklahoma State before I got here, but I watched him in the NBA and I thought he was a high flier from the moment I started watching him win NBA Dunk Contests. That was pretty cool.”
The fact that Mason rose up to salute one of Brown's better jams gave the Cowboy a thrill.
“It would seem hard to get Desmond Mason out of his chair, all the dunks he did in his lifetime,” Brown said.
Fans and media members are always trying to rank Brown's best, with the lists varying. And there's plenty of room — and body of work — for debate.
He's got his own favorites, too. And some are on everyone's list, like the dunk that got Brown ejected against Missouri in 2012. He'd already collected one technical foul in the game when he snared a lob from Keiton Page with one hand and rammed the ball through the rim, then stared down a Tiger briefly, drawing a second technical and an automatic ejection.
Most argue that the technical wasn't warranted, yet no one argues the nastiness of the dunk.
“I still hear about the Missouri dunk from two years ago,” Brown said. “And it was two years ago!
“Man, it's like the fans don't forget things like that.”
Not when Brown's dunks are so unforgettable.
“It's fun,” Brown said. “I've worked hard on my game. I've improved my shot and my ball-handling and rebounding and defense.
“But dunking is still fun.”