Oklahoma State Basketball: Where Does Marcus Smart Rank Among Best Ever Cowboys?
The Oklahoma State Cowboys' freshman sensation Marcus Smart has taken the college landscape by storm, leading his Pokes to a Top 15 ranking and a likely No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Smart has also joined an elite Big 12 club, becoming just the third player to win the conference's Freshman and Player of the Year awards in the same season.
The young point guard has a chance to add to those accolades as we move into March Madness, but where does his sensational season place among the many great players to come out of Stillwater?
Read on to find out.
One Quick Note: This list only takes into account a player's performance at the collegiate level, and isn't really interested at looking at what someone did once they left Oklahoma State.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are long steeped in tradition, claiming 17 All-Americans in the program's long history.
Because of the multitude of quality players eligible for this list, we've decided to include a few honorable mentions who are just barely on the outside, looking in.
If you're interested in reading about these and more OSU greats, check out the "Traditions" page on the school's website.
10) James Anderson
Notable Accomplishments: Big 12 Player of the Year, All-American, Fourth all-time best scorer in school history.
James Anderson came into the Oklahoma State Cowboys' program with as much hype as anyone on this list, and he didn't disappoint.
The Pokes made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances under Anderson, and he became the first Cowboy since 1993 to be named as the consensus Big 12 Player of the Year during his senior season.
The one thing keeping Anderson from jumping up a few spaces is that his OSU teams never made it past the second round.
9) John Lucas III
Notable Accomplishments: Big 12 co-Player of the Year, Two-time All-American, Led Oklahoma State to 2004 Final Four.
John Lucas III was a part of one of the most successful Oklahoma State Cowboys squads during the Eddie Sutton-era.
Lucas' Pokes made back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances, as well as the 2004 Final Four. In addition, they set a school record for wins in a season at 31, along with winning consecutive Big 12 tournament titles and a regular-season conference championship.
Plus, Lucas did this, which earns him a place of honor in every Cowboy fan's heart.
8) Desmond Mason
Notable Accomplishments: 1999-00 All-American, 3-time All-Big 12 honoree, Led Oklahoma State to the Elite Eight.
Desmond Mason is quite possibly the most athletic player to ever don an Oklahoma State Cowboys jersey.
He was absolutely dominant during his senior year, averaging 18.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while leading the Pokes to a 27-7 record.
Mason's jaw-dropping dunks made him a fan favorite and would later translate into an NBA Dunk Contest Title.
7) Joey Graham
Notable Accomplishments: 2005 All-American, Led team to 2004 Final Four, MVP of 2005 Big 12 Tournament.
Along with John Lucas III and Tony Allen, Joey Graham was a major part of the 2003-05 Oklahoma State Cowboys squads that won 57 games over two years, making back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances and getting to a Final Four in 2004.
Graham was deadly from all over the court, but his athletic ability made him an absolute beast when attacking the rim.
He was also stellar from the free throw, setting a Big 12 record for consecutive free throws made in 2005 with 39.
All in all, Graham was one of the best pro prospects to ever play for Oklahoma State, making him a big factor in the team's success during the middle of the last decade.
6) Marcus Smart
Notable Accomplishments: 2013 Big 12 Player of the Year, 2013 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Wooden Award Finalist.
What Marcus Smart has done in his one year is simply remarkable. Never before has an Oklahoma State Cowboys freshman stepped on the floor and immediately been this dominant.
He's a stat-sheet stuffer who also plays excellent defense. However, it's his ability to take over in the clutch and win games that has OSU fans hoping for a deep tourney run.
If he can will his Pokes to a Sweet 16 finish or better, Smart could move up this list, but for now, he's sitting just outside the top five.
5) Bob Mattick
Notable Accomplishments: Two-time All-American, First Oklahoma State Cowboy to average a double-double in a season, sixth most prolific scorer and third best rebounder in school history.
Bob Mattick was the driving force behind the many great Oklahoma State Cowboys teams of the early 1950s.
The big man was an absolute terror on offense, setting a school record for points per game in 1954 that would hold for 26 years.
That same year saw Mattick become the first ever Cowboy to average a double-double for a season with 20.7 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.
He wasn't able to ever get past the second round of the NCAA tournament, but his statistical prowess makes him one of the all-time greats.
4) Tony Allen
Notable Accomplishments: 2004 Big 12 co-Player of the Year, 2004 Big 12 Tournament MVP, 2004 All-American, Led Oklahoma State to the Final Four.
Tony Allen, a JUCO transfer, only needed two seasons to make his mark on Stillwater, leading the team to one of it's best seasons ever in 2004-05.
That year saw the Oklahoma State Cowboys capture the Big 12 Conference championship, win the conference tournament and make it to the NCAA tournament's Final Four.
For his efforts, Allen was named the Big 12 co-Player of the Year, the Big 12 Tournament MVP and an All-American.
John Lucas III and Joey Graham were both major factors in that Final Four run, but Tony Allen was Oklahoma State's best player that season.
3) Byron Houston
Notable Accomplishments: Oklahoma State all-time leading scorer, 1991 co-Big Eight Player of the Year, three-time Conference All-American.
Anytime you become the all-time leading scorer at a school as steeped in history as Oklahoma State, you're going to find your name on lists like these.
Byron Houston was absolutely lethal on offense, but he was also a more than capable rebounder and defender, as evidenced by the fact that he finished his career as the school's all-time leader in both of those categories.
Simply said, Houston single-handedly rewrote the Oklahoma State Cowboys' record book, making him a prime candidate for this list.
2) Bryant Reeves
Notable Accomplishments: Two-time Big Eight Player of the Year, three-time All-American, Led Oklahoma State to 1995 Final Four.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys' big man was a dominant force in collegiate basketball during the early 90s, putting up huge numbers throughout his career.
Reeves' outstanding individual accomplishments include being named the Big Eight Player of the Year in 1994 and 1995, but it's his part in leading the Pokes to the 1995 Final Four that places him so high on this list.
Big Country might not look like your typical basketball player, but man, can that big ole boy ever play.
1) Bob Kurland
Notable Accomplishments: Back-to-back national champion, three-time All-American, 1946 National Player of the Year.
Bob Kurland's back-to-back national championships for the Oklahoma State Cowboys pretty much speak for themselves.
Kurland was one of the most dominant big men to ever play basketball, completely dismantling opponents on both sides of the ball.
In fact, Kurland was so proficient at defensive goaltending, that's he's the main reason it became a penalty.
His complete destruction of fellow big man George Mikan in the "Game of Champions" stands as one of the better early showdowns in basketball history.
There's really no question about who the greatest player in Oklahoma State history is—Bob Kurland was just that spectacular.