Forte: We just didn't want this to be our last year. It kind of hit home that, “Wow, this could be the last year we get to play together.” And we didn't want it to end. We wanted four more years of this, hopefully four more years of this — who knows with him — but we just wanted to play together. We felt Oklahoma State fit both of us well individually. And Coach (Travis) Ford and his coaching staff had a lot to offer and we feel like we can learn a lot from them.
At one point did you realize that you would go to the same school?
Forte: There was a point where we decided that we wanted to play together, so that narrowed some of the schools down. There was a handful left. And when we visited Stillwater we knew, “This is it.” We loved the atmosphere, the facilities, the coaches, the players. Everything was great. We just had that gut feeling that it was the place we wanted to spend the next four years of our lives.
Smart: A gut feeling is what it was. We talked about it, but we didn't put a lot of focus to it, until we got to Stillwater and we decided. It hit home. Coach Ford and the coaching staff had a lot to offer. The atmosphere was great. The student body was incredible. So we talked about it more and decided, “Why stop this process of playing four more years if we have the chance. Let's go ahead and finish our careers out together.” We made it happen at OSU.
It's a very young team right now at OSU. Do you look forward to joining those guys and building something?
Smart: They're pretty young. That's good, because we have a lot to build on and a lot to learn from Coach Ford and his staff. It'll be a great experience for us.
Forte: They've had their struggles this year, but that comes along with being a young basketball team. They have a lot of great players, it just takes time to develop. We just can't wait to get there and kind of learn from what they have to teach us. We have to go in like a sponge and just absorb everything, and bring to the team what we have to offer and try to make the team better.
Both of you seem to be quite versatile, able to play different positions. What do you see your roles being at OSU?
Forte: I can kind of relate myself to Keiton Page. Seeing him succeed in that system, being a three-year starter, playing a lot of minutes, that's one thing that helped me decide to go to Oklahoma State. Seeing a guy I can relate myself to, and seeing him play well and succeed, it's nice to know that. He can shoot the lights out, hopefully that's what I plan to bring to the table, too.
Smart: I can kind of relate to Le'Bryan Nash up there, a very versatile player. He can play any position on the court. Like Phil said, we have a lot to learn from them. We're going to go in there like sponges and try to learn as much as we can and help the team any way we can.