Stillwater News Press

October 18, 2013

Oklahoma State basketball players can't wait for Homecoming & Hoops

By Jason Elmquist
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — The last time the Oklahoma State basketball team stood in front of the Cowboy faithful, surrounded by cheering fans in the student union, was when Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Le’Bryan Nash announced their plans to return to Stillwater for another year.

The buzz around the men’s basketball program, both in Stillwater and throughout the country, is at a heights not seen since the Eddie Sutton era.

And Friday night, those fansm hungry to see the program back on the map, will get their first chance to see the 2013-14 edition of the Cowboy basketball program during Homecoming & Hoops at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

“I’m expecting us to go out there and show them we’re ready to have another great year and we need their support, so hopefully they’ll come out and we can give them something to come back for,” Oklahoma State senior Markel Brown said

Doors open to Gallagher-Iba Arena at 7:30 p.m., with festivities expected to start at 9 p.m. The event is free, but entry vouchers will be distributed to count how many people are at the event.

In recent years, the Homecoming & Hoops festivity was really just reserved for the announcement of homecoming awards — with many of the sororities and fraternities leaving the arena before the men’s and women’s teams participated in an open scrimmage.

That is likely to change this year.

While the awards will still be announced, fans will get to see Smart and others work out. So hyped is this year’s Cowboy clan, ESPN will be broadcasting the event over ESPN3.com and ESPNU.

“Ever since I’ve been here the program has been on the rise ... and now we are getting that recognition from ESPN,” Brown said. “It’s just great for the program, it’s great for the players on this team that have worked so hard to get to this point.”

With national television shining on Stillwater, a special Homecoming & Hoops will be in order. While the players have been left in the dark, there is talk of an elaborate light show to be held inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

“There’s been a big buzz growing around Stillwater about this season and we’re just as excited, if not more so, than the fans are,” OSU sophomore guard Phil Forte said. “... We don’t know what the full plan is going to be (for the event), but I know it’s supposed to be quite the show. We’re looking forward to it.”

Friday will also be the perfect time to showcase the arena’s newest addition — a new scoreboard and video board hanging over Eddie Sutton Court. No longer will fans have to squint to see highly pixelated replays of highlight dunks by Brown or cross-over moves by Smart.

“I’ve seen it on just a little bit, not much. But I think it’s going to make a big difference and add (to the atmosphere) tremendously,” OSU coach Travis Ford said.

“When you go from what we had, to this, it is phenomenal. It is crystal clear and it can do so much stuff. It has so many screens on it. The music has also gotten better, and we’ll be able to turn off the lights. I think it’s just going to add to the aura of Gallagher-Iba.”