ESPN Events: Oklahoma State

Puerto Rico Tip-Off impacts NBA Draft

June, 29, 2014
Jun 29
Led by tournament MVPs Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State and Nik Stauskas of Michigan, nine players that have participated in the last three Puerto Rico Tip-Off were selected Thursday in the National Basketball Association Draft.

Smart and Stauskas were the most valuable players at the 2012 and 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off, respectively, as Oklahoma State won the title two years ago by defeating North Carolina State 76-56 in the finals while Michigan dropped a 63-61 decision in the championships game last season to Charlotte.

Smart, who scored 51 points, grabbed 25 rebounds and handed out 13 assists in the three Puerto Rico games in 2012, was drafted sixth overall by the Boston Celtics. In securing the MVP honor at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Smart scored 20 points in the championship game with seven rebounds and seven assists.

Stauskas, who was picked eighth overall by the Sacramento Kings Thursday, led all scorers in the 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off with 70 points, including a 20-point effort in the championship game. He also made 20 of his 39 shots from the field while collecting 12 rebounds and five assists in his three Puerto Rico games.

T. J. Warren of North Carolina State and Mitch McGary of Michigan, who also participated in the previous Puerto Rico Tip-Off, were also selected in the NBA first-round Thursday. Warren, who joined Smart on the 2012 Puerto Rico Tip-Off all-tournament team, was picked 14th overall by the Phoenix Suns while McGary was the 21st overall selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Other players with Puerto Rico Tip-Off experience drafted Thursday by the NBA were Markel Brown (44th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves) of Oklahoma State (2012), Spencer Dinwiddie (38th, Detroit Pistons) of Colorado (2011), Jordan McRae (58th, San Antonio Spurs) of Tennessee (2012), Glenn Robinson III (40th, Minnesota) of Michigan (2013) and Jarnell Stokes (35th, Utah Jazz, 2012 PRTO all-tournament team) of Tennessee (2012).

For previous NBA drafts, here are selections where the players competed in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

2013 Draft

* Reggie Bullock, North Carolina 2010 (pick 25 by Los Angeles Clippers)
* André Roberson, Colorado 2011 (pick 26 by Minnesota Timberwolves, traded to Oklahoma City Thunder via Golden State Warriors)
* Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State 2012 (pick 52 by Minnesota Timberwolves)
* Colton Iverson, Minnesota 2010 (pick 53 by Indiana Pacers, traded to Boston Celtics)

2012 Draft

* Harrison Barnes, North Carolina 2010 (pick 7 by Golden State Warriors)
* Kendall Marshall, North Carolina 2010 (pick 13 by Phoenix Suns)
* John Henson, North Carolina 2010 (pick 14 by Milwaukee Bucks)
* Tyler Zeller, North Carolina 2010 (pick 17 by Dallas Mavericks, traded to Cleveland Cavaliers)
* John Jenkins, Vanderbilt 2010 (pick 23 by Atlanta Hawks)
* Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt 2010 (pick 30 by Golden State Warriors)
* Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt 2010 (pick 31 by Charlotte Bobcats)
* Kim English, Missouri 2008 (pick 44 by Detroit Pistons)
* Robbie Hummel, Purdue 2011 (pick 58 by Minnesota Timberwolves)
* Marcus Denmon, Missouri 2008 (pick 59 by San Antonio Spurs)

2011 Draft

* Charles Jenkins, Hofstra 2011 (pick 44 by Golden State Warriors)
* Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech 2009 (pick 17 by New York Knicks)
* Marshon Brooks, Providence 2007 (pick 25 by Boston Celtics, rights traded to New Jersey Nets)
* Lavoy Allen, Temple 2007 (pick 50 by Philadelphia 76ers)

2010 Draft

* Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech 2009 (pick 3 by New Jersey Nets)
* Larry Sanders, Virginia Commonwealth 2007 (pick 15 by Milwaukee Bucks)
* Terrico White, Mississippi 2009 (pick 36 by Detroit Pistons)
* Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech 2009 (pick 46 by Phoenix Suns)
* Dwayne Collins, Miami 2007 (pick 60 by Phoenix Suns)

2009 Draft

* Tyreke Evans, Memphis 2008 (pick 4 by Sacramento Kings)
* DeMar DeRozan, USC 2008 (pick 9 by Toronto Raptors)
* Eric Maynor, Virginia Commonwealth 2008) (pick 20 by Utah Jazz)
* Taj Gibson, USC 2008 (pick 26 by Chicago Bulls)
* DeMarre Carroll, Missouri 2008 (pick 27 by Memphis Grizzles)
* Derrick Brown, Xavier 2008 (pick 40 by Charlotte Bobcats)
* Jack Mcclinton, Miami 2007 (pick 51 by San Antonio Spurs)
* Robert Dozier, Memphis 2008 (pick 60 by Miami Heat)

2008 Draft

* Sonny Weems, Arkansas 2007 (pick 39 by Chicago Bulls, traded to Denver Nuggets)

Nash comes up big for Oklahoma State

November, 30, 2013
In a game that coach Travis Ford said might as well have had NCAA tournament implications, No. 5 Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart might have been the headliner, but former top high school recruit Le’Bryan Nash reminded fans that he, too, is worthy of some serious hype.

Against a hard-charging Butler defense that forced nine turnovers, Nash had 15 points Friday afternoon, including a free throw with less than 10 seconds remaining, which sealed the Cowboys’ 69-67 win in Game 6 at the Old Spice Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Oklahoma State advances to the Old Spice Classic championship game Sunday against the winner of Friday night’s matchup of No. 21 Memphis and LSU.

Nash’s 15 were second only to Smart’s 17 for Oklahoma State (7-0), and the forward, whose college career at times hasn’t equaled expectations, has found a rhythm during this three-day tournament in the early season. In the tournament opener Thursday, Nash finished with 16 points, two assists and five rebounds. He was 8-for-12 from the free-throw line.

Friday, with the Cowboys going 1-for-5 on free throws in the second half, Nash, who finished 3-for-4 from the line, was asked about any pressure he might’ve felt at the line, keeping the Cowboys ahead by two as the clock waned.

“I’ve been in that situation my whole life, especially being one of the top players coming out of high school,” he said with a shrug.

The 6-foot-7 forward’s 10 points in the first half helped Oklahoma State to a 14-point lead at intermission, but the team’s inconsistencies in the second half – which stemmed, Ford said, from the Cowboys getting too comfortable – further propelled the junior to deliver when it counted.

Ford added that the early game plan was all about getting it to Nash. “That was something we definitely wanted to do,” Ford said. “I stayed up all night with the coaches trying to figure out how they were going to guard us. Once we started figuring out what they were doing, then we had some things we wanted to go to, work on some mismatches.”

Nash said the key to the recent evolution in his game has been keeping himself focused. “Every chance I get to go in the gym, I try,” he said. “Work on my post game, because I think I get smaller matchups on me, so I take advantage of them, and when I get a big matchup I just try to go around them and finish. It’s all about finishing. The biggest thing about me is finishing around the rim, and I try to focus on that.”

Super Sophomores to Watch

September, 20, 2013
You've no doubt heard plenty of chatter about incoming freshmen in college basketball. You'll have a chance to see ESPN top recruit Andrew Wiggins of Kansas face No. 2 prospect Jabari Parker of Duke in the State Farm Champions Classic on Nov. 12. In that same doubleheader in Chicago, Kentucky's great incoming freshmen class will be on display in a matchup versus Michigan State.

But don't forget about the sophomores. In an era where many of the nation's top players turn pro after one season, there's an intriguing crop of second-year players who could have a major impact in who walks away with the national title next spring.

Fortunately, you'll be able to see a number of them in ESPN Events' early-season tournaments. Here are the top five sophomores to watch:

5. Duke G Rasheed Sulaimon: The 6-foot-4 shooting guard not only contributed 11.6 points a game, but he became Duke's top perimeter defender as a freshman. Now that reinforcements are on the way in Parker and Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood, Sulaimon could give opponents headaches on how to defend the Blue Devils. See how Kansas fares on Nov. 12 at the United Center.

4. Kentucky F Alex Poythress: The 6-7 Tennessee native came to college with plenty of hype, and disappointed some by averaging just 11.2 points and 6 rebounds as a freshman (despite shooting 58 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range). Now with Kentucky's big freshmen class on the way, Poythress will have to perform to get playing time. You'll get a chance to see how he responds on Nov. 12.

3. Michigan F Mitch McGary: The Indiana native carried Michigan to the national title game with a breakout NCAA Tournament. The 6-10 McGary only started two games before he reached another level in the NCAAs. McGary had 25 points and 14 rebounds in a Sweet 16 victory over Kansas. He added 10 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a Final Four win over Syracuse. Despite projections he'd be a first-round pick, the 21-year-old returned to school. He and the Wolverines will play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Nov. 21-24.

2. Arizona State G Jahii Carson: With Allen Iverson-like fearlessness in driving the lane and a freshman school-record 177 assists, the 5-10 Carson was co-freshman of the year in the Pac-12 last season. Carson led all freshman in the nation at 18.5 points a game. Carson will be one of the most fun players to watch this season, and you'll get a chance to see the speedy guard play in the Wooden Legacy Nov. 28-Dec. 1.

1. Oklahoma State G Marcus Smart: There was disbelief at first when the reigning Big 12 player of the year announced he'd return for his sophomore season. Then pundits immediately began moving the Cowboys higher in their preseason polls. Smart, who was projected as a top-five NBA draft pick, brings scoring (15.4 points), toughness (5.7 rebounds), passing (4.2 assists) and quickness (2.9 steals) to a team that will challenge Kansas for the Big 12 title. Watch Smart play three early-season games in the Old Spice Classic Nov. 28-Dec. 1.