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Oklahoma State A 'Smart' Pick To Move Up
November 02, 2012
Story line
Two McDonald's All-Americans are expected to be the key players as Oklahoma State tries to bounce back from its first losing season in nearly a quarter century. Sophomore guard/forward Le'Bryan Nash and freshman point guard Marcus Smart both had stellar high school careers and they need to translate that success to the college level. Nash was the Big 12 freshman of the year last season while the 6-4 Smart is expected to be the top rookie in the league this season.

Coach: Travis Ford, 80-55 in four seasons; 270-201 overall in 15 seasons.
Last season: 15-18 overall, 7-11, 7th in Big 12.
NCAA Tournament: Did not participate.

Top players
Sophomore guard/forward Le'Bryan Nash (13.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg), junior guard Markel Brown (10.5 ppg); sophomore forward Michael Cobbins Michael Cobbins (5.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg); senior guard/forward Jean-Paul Olukemi (9.4 ppg; suffered knee injury, out after 13 games), freshman guard Marcus Smart, freshman guard Phil Forte.

Coach Ford says
"We've got to rebound the basketball. That's been kind of the theme for us since practice has started. Kind of been the emphasis for us since practices started. Pretty much every category, any rebounding category we were last. From offensive, to defensive, any category, we were last in the league in rebounding. We've got to make a drastic improvement in that area."

Brian Williams, a 6-5 sophomore guard/forward who averaged nearly 10 points a game last season, will miss the season after suffering a wrist injury during an October practice. ... Senior guard/forward Jean-Paul Olukemi, who suffered a knee injury 13 games into last season, had his appeal upheld by the NCAA and will be able to play the entire season. It was possible that his eligibility would have ended after the first semester. ... Last season was the first losing season for Oklahoma State since 1988. Also, it was the first time since 2005-06 that a team coached by Travis Ford failed to win 20 games. ... Oklahoma State led the Big 12 in fewest turnovers last season, set a Big 12 record against Texas Tech when it committed just two turnovers.

Season opener
Nov. 9 UC-Davis

Top nonconference games
Dec. 1 at Virginia Tech
Dec. 5 South Florida
Dec. 31 Gonzaga

Conference opener
Jan. 5 at Kansas State

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