Kendall Smith has been making headlines the past few weeks with some monster performances in big games. After hitting one of his biggest threes of the season to seal the victory over Stanford in the second round of the NIT, Kendall had some words for the Oklahoma State detractors.
Of course, Smith is referring to the beautiful, Oscar-contending video of Dick Vitale, perplexed that the selection committee would even entertain the notion of putting Oklahoma in the Big Dance while leaving Oklahoma State sitting at home.
Now we have discussed Cowboy Snub-gate 2018 ad nauseam on the internets, but Smith’s comments tell me two things. The first is that Mike Boynton knows exactly what buttons to push with his team and it is showing. The second is simple ... this team cares. That shouldn’t even be an issue, but it has plagued OSU for far too long (looking at you every tournament appearance since 2009).
His comments might be viewed by some as “cocky”, and I’m sure more than a few pundits will use it as a “BRING ON THE CHAMPS” quote if we get to New York, but this has been the most refreshing part of this year. Seeing these players care as much as they do is something that we as a fanbase have been starving for.
We have seen such great talent come and go over the past 10 years, yet the teams have always fizzled out quickly in the postseason. Remember when the Cowboys in the NIT and lost to Marist, at home? I really believe those days are gone, all because there is have a head coach that has given the program something it has been striving for - passion. The passion to succeed for the school we all love so much. Just look at Mitchell Solomon, who thought he may have played his last game in GIA:
Mitchell Solomon thought he played his last game in GIA Monday night. He walked off the court to a rousing standing ovation. He was overcome with emotion during the alma mater. You can't say this NIT run doesn't mean the world to him. #OKState pic.twitter.com/rsyIw1nr0D— Dylan Buckingham (@DylanBuckingham) March 20, 2018
This season could be the beginning of something special, and as much as we were all questioning Mike Holder when he made the hire, it looks like he in fact knows what he is doing.