I wanted to thank you.
Given the circumstances, to say I was excited for the future coming into this season was an understatement.
But I never thought the future would come immediately. You guys outworked everyone else in the country and became the most improved team I have ever seen from start to finish.
As for you, you drove every player on that team to be better, and it was incredible to watch.
As far as this decision goes, I get it. And I thank you.
There was a moment in the NCAA Tournament when I gasped. Then I cringed.
You took a spill after a layup and got up holding your back. I felt sick to my stomach, thinking that there was a chance you were about 15 minutes away from becoming a millionaire, and you got hurt.
You played through, and I’m hoping everything is okay with that. But after that moment, I get what you were willing to risk when you mentioned you would “Probably be back” next season, thinking you could trust your coach to be back as well.
It hurts, but man, what a wild ride.
I remember you torching Buddy Hield for 42 points as a freshman, just five months before he became the sixth pick in the NBA Draft. I remember being broken-hearted when the shoulder injury kept you out the remainder of the year.
But most of all, I remember The Rowdy.
You know a ton about Oklahoma State basketball. The last time we went to a Final Four, you were eight years old. I have no clue if you were watching. It’d be cool if you were, but who knows.
But since then, there have been rough times. You came at some of the roughest, but you ignored it and pushed through.
You kept your word. You came to Stillwater. After Travis Ford left, you stayed in Stillwater, and you spearheaded the effort to show us glimpses of what this program can be.
You don’t owe us anything. Three years in college and three coaches sounds miserable to me, and I can barely compete in B-League Intramurals. I can’t imagine what it would be like on that level.
But for us, we’re indebted to you, and I wish we had been in a situation to truly maximize your brilliance. I also apologize for other men’s greed and dishonesty causing you to change your plans. My heart hurts for you.
But this is the hand we were dealt.
We wish you nothing but the best. When you come back for games and they show you on the big screen, I’ll stand and holler and clap as loud as I can.
When you sport anything orange or OSU from here on out, I’ll feel pride.
We were lucky to have you, we’re proud to have watched you continue to grow up and we’ll root for you no matter what team you play for.
Go show the NBA what you’ve got. Go be the Jawun we know and love.
Your biggest fan,