Markel Brown, Le'Bryan Nash and Marcus Smart all announced their intentions to return to Oklahoma State for the 2013-14 basketball season today at the Student Union Atrium on the OSU campus. All three had been considering the opportunity to enter the National Basketball Association draft in June.
"This is an exciting time for Cowboy Basketball," said head coach Travis Ford. "All three of these guys will have an opportunity to compete at the next level. They realize and understand that the individual awards they received come from great team chemistry, playing well together as a team and winning basketball games. Staying in school also provides them with an opportunity to continue their education, which is very important to them and their families."
Nash, a two-time All-Big 12 selection, averaged 14 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season. He was named All-Big 12 Third Team by the league coaches and honorable mention All-Big 12 by the Associated Press. A prolific scorer, he has 44 double-figure scoring games in his two-year career.
Brown, a unanimous second-team All-Big 12 honoree and an All-District VI selection as a junior in 2012-13, averaged 15.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this season. He improved his shooting averages during the offseason, shooting 36.4 percent from beyond the three-point arc. He became the second player in school history to record 200 assists, 100 steals and 75 blocked shots in a career, joining Byron Houston.
Smart, a consensus second-team All-American, led the Cowboys, averaging 15.4 points and 4.2 assists per game as a freshman. He was named both the Big 12 Conference's Player and Freshman of the Year. He received the Integris Wayman Tisdale Award as the national freshman of the year from the United States Basketball Writers Association and was a first-team All-American according to Sporting News.
"I'm very excited about next season," Ford said. "With all the players we have returning, and the addition of some extremely talented new guys, next year should be very entertaining. We're looking forward to many sold-out games inside Gallagher-Iba Arena."
With all three players coming back, Oklahoma State has the top-three returning scorers in the Big 12 Conference for the 2013-14 season. The Cowboys also return their top-seven scorers from a team that went 24-9 a year ago and was one-win shy of sharing a league title.