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Markel Brown, The Heart of Oklahoma State Basketball

Brown has proven to be much more than just a SportsCenter Top 10 highlight regular. The high flying dunker has epitomized what it means to be a Cowboy. Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out, once he's done, the only place the Cowboy faithful should find the number 22 is hanging from the rafters in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Jamie Squire

Unfortunately this season won’t be remembered as OSU’s return to national prominence. In a season marred by turmoil, the Cowboys have been in need of a leader. Markel Brown has been that leader. The one constant. The north star of Cowboy Basketball. The embodiment what it means to be a Poke!

With Marcus Smart struggling to contain his frustrations, Michael Cobbins out with a season ending injury, Stevie Clark dismissed from the team, and a head coach that seemingly leaves his players more confused coming out of timeouts than when they go in, Brown has been the rock of this Cowboy team.

Markel has stepped up when his team has needed him most. He played 45 minutes in the overtime loss to Baylor. That's the entire game!

Surprisingly, that's not even the most minutes he's seen in a game this season. He was on the court for 54 minutes in the triple overtime game against Iowa State. In fact, over the last 8 games Brown is averaging 41 minutes played. That’s insane!

Everything has come crashing down around the Oklahoma State basketball team, but Brown has stepped up to be the undeniable leader of this team. It’s a special player to take it upon himself to lead amidst adversity. Game after game, heartbreaking defeat after heartbreaking defeat, he leads the team back on to the court to give everything they have left to Cowboy Nation.

It’s not just Brown’s attitude that’s stood out, it's his stat line as well. This has been his best season yet in a career packed with one accomplishment after another.

His rebounding has increased 25% from a year ago. He’s averaging 5.5 boards a game, and is just the 24th player in school history to grab over 500 rebounds!

It’s that relentless hustle has Markel ranked 10th in the Big 12 in blocked shots. He has 27 deflections on the season so far, making him just the 8th Cowboy to reject 100 shots in a career. No other Guard in school history has recorded more blocks!

Over the course of Brown’s tenure as a Poke, he’s continually worked to elevate his game. It’s his tireless effort, and constant never-say-die attitude that’s pushed him to a level no Cowboy has achieved before. Markel Brown is the only player in school history to have at least 250 assists, 100 steals, and 100 blocked shots. Holy cow! Think of all the great players that have come through Stillwater, and let that sink in for a moment.

Brown has improved in almost every statistic from a year ago, including what he does best, scoring. He's averaging 17.4 points a game and ranks fifth in the Big 12! As if that wasn't enough, during Smart's absence Markel has gutted out 26 point performances in back to back games. He’s the warrior that charges into battle when everyone else wants to retreat.

With the help of Phil Forte and Le’Bryan Nash, Markel has given Cowboy Nation a reason to be proud. This team will not give up, they will not surrender.

Typically a team hovering just above last place in the league doesn't have a player awarded with All-Conference honors, but this year, with this team, it's exactly why Brown should be! In a season where the unimaginable has happened, he has been a pillar of strength for the Cowboys.

Against Texas Tech Markel has a chance to do something special, break into Oklahoma State’s top 10 in career points. Number 22 is just 3 points shy of the mark. Let’s bring the rowdy back this Saturday, not just for Smart’s much anticipated return, but to celebrate another major milestone in a truly outstanding career.