When people think of the Oklahoma State Cowboys basketball, Marcus Smart is probably the name that comes to mind. As a projected lottery selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, this makes sense. However, anyone who knows the game understands it takes a hell of a lot more than one player to complete a team, especially one that won 21 games last season. Enter Markel Brown, Smart’s backcourt mate and a player who just might dunk on you if you don’t pay attention.
Two years ago, Markel Brown was a little-known reserve, who didn’t even think the NBA was a possibility. Now, he’s on the brink of making his dreams come true. Truth be told, Markel Brown might have had a better season than Smart. Regardless, Brown and Marcus Smart were the two pieces who made the Cowboys run.
Brown averaged 17.1 points and 5.3 rebounds, shooting 47 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep during his senior season. That’s forgetting to mention Brown might want to throw his name in the dunk contest when he leaps to the NBA with his 43.5 vertical from the NBA Draft Combine, though he told me his highest is around 45.5 inches. Sure, he might be considered a “sleeper” by some, but Markel Brown can ball.
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When Marcus Smart was suspended for three games, Brown took the reins of the Cowboys, averaging 23.3 PPG and excelling in pick-and-roll and transition opportunities. He proved he can play alongside a star and can also take over when the ball is in his hands.
Markel is a rare commodity in that he stayed all four years at OKSU, claiming that getting his degree was the main reason. That’s a breath of fresh air to hear when the current trend is for players to leave after one season to chase NBA checks.
Brown will be coming into the NBA with his degree while still cashing an NBA paycheck. He’s projected as a second-round selection, but Markel Brown is determined to become a name with the likes of other famous second-round picks rather than an afterthought. With the NBA Draft coming up in a few weeks, Markel Brown took time out of his busy schedule to sit down and chat with us about the Draft, his training, and his increased efficiency during his senior season.
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Dime: How is training for the draft going so far?
Markel Brown: It’s going pretty good right now. I’m based out here in Las Vegas at Impact, but I’ve been in and out for the last two weeks. I’ve worked out with six teams so far and I have seven more to go. The workouts have been good. I feel like I’ve been getting better in every workout that I’ve been in.
Dime: With less than two weeks until the NBA Draft, what does the term: Markel Brown, NBA Draft Prospect mean to you?
MB: It means a lot. Two years ago I couldn’t even see myself in this position. Especially being in this class, which is supposed to be one of the best since LeBron’s class, it just feels good to be apart of something with so many great players from all over the country. Hopefully having my name called on June 26th is so surreal.
Dime: Do you have an advantage staying 4 years over younger guys who leave after 1?
MB: I think it gives me an advantage, because it shows how I’ve matured over the years. I’ve been through so much in my four years of college. I’ve been through ups and downs, I’ve been on the good teams and the bad teams. It gives me more of an advantage because I’m more mature and I know what to expect.
Dime: Did you ever consider leaving OKSU? What made you stay four years?
MB: Actually, I thought about leaving after my junior year. But, I just felt like with only having one year left, I was so close to getting my college degree. Also, staying another year gave me an opportunity to improve my game even more. I could have left after my junior year, but I like the decision I made to stay for my senior year.
Dime: So getting your degree factored into your decision to stay four years?
MB: Yes sir.