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Wednesday, November 9, 2011
FM Marcus trio sign basketball letters of intent

By Travis L. Brown



FLOWER MOUND, Texas -- Oklahoma State is getting a set of basketball twins from Flower Mound Marcus next season.

Marcus Smart, Phil Forte and Nick Banyard
Marcus Smart and Phil Forte will continue their longtime basketball connection at Oklahoma State. Meanwhile, FM Marcus teammate Nick Banyard is heading to New Mexico.
They're not be related by blood, but the connection Marcus Smart and Phil Forte have on the court goes well beyond teammates or even friendship.

“We got to a point where I could tell where he was on the court without even looking at him and vice versa with him,” Smart said. “We have a perfect feel for each other. It’s like that twin telepathy for each other -- when a twin can feel what the other is feeling -- that’s what me and Phil have on the court.”

Both signed letters of intent Wednesday to play together at Oklahoma State, continuing a streak of seasons they have been teammates that began in the third grade.

“It’s great knowing every time you go out to practice -- to work -- you have your brother beside you,” Forte said. “We’ve been through so much together, good times and bad. Playing four more years with him in college will just make it that much better.”

Forte said Oklahoma State was an easy sell because he loved the way he fit into the Cowboys' system as a point guard, especially after watching Keiton Page thrive in Stillwater.

Once Smart -- the ESPNU No. 11 recruit in the nation for his class -- found Oklahoma State to be a good fit as well, the decision was simple.

So family, friends and teammates gathered outside of Marauder Gym on Wednesday morning to watch Smart, Forte and Nick Banyard, a New Mexico commit, ink their pledge to play college ball.

While signing the letter of intent was a moment each savored, there was no question who won the contest of signing their name the required four times first.

“Marcus finished first and we gave him a hard time because he doesn’t know how to not finish first in anything in his life,” Forte said.

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