Ever since Marcus Smart's commitment, even tracing back to the first rumors that he was considering Oklahoma State, Cowboy basketball fans started to research the five-star guard.
Who was he? What kind of player was OSU getting? Could he help bring a struggling program back to prominence?
Wherever they searched, whatever kind of opinion they found, the reassuring info continued to flow in about Smart.
He's a winner. He can play every position. He does everything on the court.
“(Smart) is the ultimate, ultimate competitor,” OSU coach Travis Ford said on signing day. “He will rip your heart out.”
But long after his early November commitment, Smart continues to solidify and expand the hype surrounding his arrival in Stillwater.
Part of that can be traced to the growing appetite for recruiting information in the digital age. But most of it can be attributed to Smart and his growing list of impressive accomplishments.
In 2012, Smart led Flower Mound Marcus High School to its second consecutive Texas Class 5A state championship, averaging 15.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
Soon after the title, Smart was given another repeat award, winning Gatorade High School Player of the Year in Texas for the second consecutive season.
“Every time you watch Marcus Smart, every coach in America just said, ‘Man, we need him on our team,'” Ford said. “You want him on your team. You are going to be successful with that guy on your team.”
As his senior season came to a close, and an important summer started, Smart's constant stream of awards and invitations continued.
He was named an ESPNHS and McDonald's All-American, dishing out five assists in the annual event in Chicago.
Smart was invited to try out for the USA U18 National Team and, after a dominating camp, made the team and eventually was named starting guard.
“Smart's impact on the trials in Colorado Springs shouldn't come as surprise,” ESPN's basketball insider Andy Katz wrote. “Nor should comments that he was one of the most competitive players coming out of high school the staff has seen, a ‘flat-out stud, a winner and a warrior.'”
In the FIBA Americas Tournament, which has been going on all week in Brazil, Smart has continued to impress.
Smart, starting for a 4-0 U.S. team that will play for the gold medal on Wednesday, has backed up his future coach's words.
In a condensed 19 minutes per game, with the Americans blowing out teams by 42 points per game, Smart has compiled 27 points, 14 rebounds, a team-leading 16 assists and a tournament-leading 12 steals.
All of this, and Smart is still two months away from his first class at OSU.