Remembering the OSU Ten

Updated: January 29, 2011, 5:34 PM ET
By Doug Gottlieb

It took me 11 years to "get it." On the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma State plane crash, I finally figured out something my coach scolded me about during my senior season.

I had led the country in assists as a junior and was well on my way to doing the same in the middle of the 1999-2000 season, at which time Eddie Sutton called me selfish. Selfish? Was he kidding? There is nothing more unselfish than an assist -- or so I thought.

Coach Sutton explained in no uncertain terms that that was not the case, that I was playing for assists, that it was part of my thought process that a pass was supposed to lead to an assist and, therefore, all about me. To say that I disagreed is an understatement. I stewed, I grumbled, I shook off thoughts of anything other than the old man had simply lost it.

Eleven years later, I realize I was wrong, and my night remembering the Ten who died in the Oklahoma State plane crash helped me understand why.

The reason we, as a basketball family, chose to retire the No. 10 -- the first number officially retired in the history of Oklahoma State basketball -- was because of those Ten and their inherent unselfishness. I have written proudly about my friends before, but even then I did not truly understand why they were so special to everyone who ever associated with any of them.

Now I do.

They were unselfish for no purpose other than helping others. Unlike my desire to set records and be noticed for being "unselfish," those men were the opposite -- selfless in a selfish world.

Wednesday night was about them. They embodied what I want to be on my best day, and it is my hope that they will forever be immortalized for the fact that thinking of Cowboy basketball first and one's self second should be worthy of the highest possible recognition.

Here are a couple of other stories about the Ten:

• SIDs nationwide knew how special Will Hancock was.

• Jared Weiberg would have been a coach in his own right by now. His brother's team played their guts out for him Thursday.

Who cares if Jimmer is a pro?