The jubilation that ran through the OSU student union upon the announcement that basketball superstar Marcus Smart will bypass the NBA Draft to return to Stillwater for his sophomore season stretched to the football facility, as Gundy expressed excitement that Smart decided to stay in school for one more year.
“I think it's a great day to be a Cowboy,” Gundy said. “I don't know Marcus real well. Obviously, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he brings to Oklahoma State, and I was hoping that he would come back.
“Again, that's selfish for an Oklahoma State guy, because he's tremendous for our school. Not only as an athlete, but the way he approaches the game and approaches himself and handles himself.”
Gundy certainly knows what these types of difficult stay-or-go decisions are like. And the Cowboys got similar news after the 2010 season, when the quarterback-receiver combo of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon elected to return.
That following season, OSU went 12-1, won its first Big 12 championship and beat Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. But Gundy said the reasons for coming back to college stretch beyond potential athletic success.
“He's got another chance to be a normal person for a year and be a college student,” Gundy said, “and that's something you don't ever get back.
“The players that we have here at Oklahoma State that have come back and have gone on to be first-round picks would look back on it and say that they enjoyed that time and appreciated it and, really, are glad that they stayed. So I can't imagine it won't work out terrific for him.”