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TU Men's Basketball Seniors Share Deep-Seated Bond

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

They're not blood brothers, but Tulsa's seniors are about as close as it gets. “These are actually like my brothers,” said Rashad Smith. “We've been together four or five years, man. Me and Shaq were talking about this the other day; I remember his 19th birthday, last week he turned 22.”

It's been a run of ups and downs, but it's an experience this class does not regret. “We all got closer as the year's go on and going through all the coaches and different systems and stuff, we just stuck together," James Woodard explained.

Smith added, "When stuff like this happens you really see why you went through all the adversity so it can build up to something this great. Being able to play one last season with them I think it all added up perfectly."

When the fresh-faced seniors played their first game against LSU Shreveport, they were learning college basketball. Then, Woodard and Shaq Harrison led them to an NCAA berth and then a transition to a tougher conference. 

Harrison says he's still learning to become a leader. "Sometimes I actually do ask myself that question, but they chose me to be a leader, chose James to be a leader and got to trust them," Harrison stated.

So, as these seniors approach their last year the boys, now young men, will try not to let their brothers down this season.

"The last day's going to be bittersweet; I'm going to be happy to graduate but I'm going to be leaving my brothers, so it's going to be real sad, I might cry,” said Harrison. “We got a lot of things to prove. I don't feel like that's pressure at all; I feel like that's an opportunity to make some history.”

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