Cowboys Rock Homecoming & Hoops

Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford was wanting to put a show on for the fans Friday night at Homecoming & Hoops. Mission accomplished. A standing-room-only crowd of more than 13,000 filled Gallagher-Iba Arena to kick off the 2013-14 basketball season, and they got more than they bargained for in a fantastic introduction video unlike any seen before inside the historic arena.

In front of a national television audience, part of the event was shown during ESPNU Midnight Madness in which nine college programs were featured, the OSU Cowboy and Cowgirls faithful were treated to an opening that included the 200-level seats using glow sticks to participate in the introduction.

"That felt amazing. It's hard to explain how I really felt. It just put a smile on my face," said Marcus Smart of his introduction to a roaring Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd prior to the 15-minute scrimmage.

Smart finished with eight points, five assists and two rebounds in his first basketball appearance since announcing last April that he would return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season.

"This is a great program, we have a lot of great players here that came back," said Smart. "We have an opportunity to do something special here and make history at Oklahoma State. I'm definitely glad I came back. A lot of people say I turned down (the NBA), but I didn't turn down anything; I just put it to the side."

Although the Black team rallied behind Brian Williams' 16 points for a 45-44 victory in the scrimmage, the night really belonged to the OSU fans, said Ford.

"This what was it was all about, just having fun tonight. It was fun for our players but more importantly it was for our fans; to get them jazzed up, get them excited," said Ford. "My talk before we went out to the team was to have fun, but this was for the fans. This is kind of the start of the new season, even though we've been going for about three weeks."

The introduction video impressed the more than 13,000 Cowboys fans but more importantly left a lasting impression on several of the recruits in town for the weekend, including 7-1 Andrew Fishler from Gulf Coast State College (Panama City, Fla.), 2015 five-star prospect Elijah Thomas, a 6-9 post player from Lancaster, Texas, and 2016 prospect Nate Morris, 6-9 from Lancaster, Texas.

Two OSU commits – 2014 point guard Jeff Newberry from New Mexico Junior College and 2015 four-star shooting guard Austin Grandstaff of Rockwall, Texas – also had their ears ringing from the noise level inside GIA.

"When i walked out I saw standing room only on the 200 level and up top, and that's what you want. That's exciting to see," said Ford. "I just hope it carries over to the games. I think everybody in that arena had a lot of fun tonight.

"It couldn't have went any better. I really appreciate what the Athletic Department did to put this on. They worked extremely hard to put this on and make this an exciting night for the students and the fans, and I think it was well worth it. I know we've been pumping it a lot but I think it lived up to what we were wanting."


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