STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Bucking the one-and-done trend across college basketball, Big 12 player of the year Marcus Smart announced Wednesday he will return for his sophomore season at Oklahoma State with a team that will be loaded with professional prospects.
Proclaiming he's a "Cowboy at heart," Smart said he made his decision after consulting with his family and praying on it, and knowing fully what he could be passing up by skipping this chance to enter the NBA draft as a likely top-five pick.
"There's a lot of speculation going. I've been bashed and criticized that I probably made a mistake of coming back here, the NBA will be there, I should have took it, and this year's draft class is much weaker than next year's," said Smart, who led the Cowboys by averaging 15.4 points and 4.2 assists last season.
"But I think I made the right decision," he said. "All that was telling me, from those people that said that, is they don't have confidence in my ability and my game to compete with those players next year. You guys have given me that confidence to do that, so I chose to stay here. I'm aware of how much money I am giving up."
With Smart leading the way at the point, Oklahoma State made it back to the NCAA Tournament after a three-year absence and finished the season with a 24-9 record. He joined Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley, both former No. 2 NBA draft picks, as the only players to sweep the Big 12's player of the year and freshman of the year honors.