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10 thoughts on the Marcus Smart decision



NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas Christian

Photo Attribution: USATSI

I usually default to “10 thoughts” when there are too many things floating around for me to settle on one angle for a blog post and today’s OSU presser was no different.

There was SO much happening and so much said that I wanted to give you a special offseason version of the 10 thoughts.

Here we go..

1. Marcus Smart is ridiculously mature for being a freshman in college. I have no proof of this, of course, I don’t know him and I only know a few people who do know him (nonewell) but to speak candidly in a press conference about openly knowing you’re giving up $8 million in guaranteed money to return to school because I love you guys and I’m a Cowboy at heart is absurd. You’re 19, you’re not supposed to make life-changing decisions with such poise and ease!

2. Le’Bryan opened with this was one of the hardest decisions of my life. My question with this: was it because he couldn’t figure out when the deadline was or because he actually considered going pro? And is he the least self-aware OSU athlete in the history of the school?

3. Travis Ford could not stop smiling. It was unbelievable. I think he wore two pairs of pants because he was scared he was going to urinate all over himself on stage in front of a couple thousand other humans. He said I was excited because he was excited but what he meant was my gosh, how did this happen to me? I couldn’t even get these dudes out of the first round!

4. There was a part of me that really felt like this was the Heat introduction 2.0. I thought Robert Allen was going to roll out a smoke machine and the Student Union was going to be bathed in lights and promises of future Big 12 titles. You know who kept it low-key? The man of the hour. Anthony Slater asked him if he thought this was a Final Four team — if there was a time to call yourself a Final Four team, this was it, in your Student Union with all your classmates on hand — and he deflected it like Andre Williams swatting a wayward layup in the early 2000s. Well done, 3s.

5. I’ve said it before, but from a pure economic standpoint, this was dumb. I understand “you can’t put a value on the college experience” and so on, but economics is about risk and reward. And I don’t need to tell you the risks in this case FAR outweigh the reward because you watched the Louisville/Duke game.

6. Is Phil Forte the most well-spoken freshman in the history of college basketball or just the history of Oklahoma State basketball? Watch his answer at 24:30 here, Ford should let him do all his postgame pressers.

7. The more I think about this, the crazier it gets. As Slater pointed out last night, Smart is the first Big 12 POY to return to school since Raef LaFrentz in 1997 (!) And you know, I think he can get a lot better. He said so in his press conference, the people who questioned his decision questioned his ability to get better over the course of a year. What if he steals Markel’s junior year jumper? What if he develops a crossover stepback like JamesOn? I know I said this was a bad move from an economic standpoint — and it is in the short-term, for sure — but long-term it’s going to be better for him to develop an outside game against the Kansases and Iowa States of the world than it would be to play 15 minutes against the Bobcats every other night.

8. You know who’s kicking himself right now? Mike Holder for not waiting a few more weeks to announce basketball ticket prices.

9. You know who the big winner is here? Markel. If Smart leaves, Brown has to shoulder a team he probably can’t carry for 30 games and could have potentially run his draft stock into the ground in the process. With Smart back though, he gets unlimited opportunity to shine while Smart carries them in crunch time. He won’t average 20 (because LB’s still around) but he could absolutely get himself inside the top 20 in next year’s draft.

10. Speaking of Markel getting inside the top 20…I know Ford’s excited about them coming back but he’s also crapping himself because if you can’t get two (maybe three) first round guys to the Sweet 16 in year two of them playing together…well…

11. I was texting with Nolo a few weeks ago and we were talking about what this team could be if Smart came back. We tossed around top 10, top five, Big 12 favorite, all that stuff. Then one of us, I can’t remember who, said “you know, this could be the No. 1 team in the country going into next season.”

It’s true. The top three scorers in the Big 12 are returning, the preseason national POY is suiting back up, and we have pieces coming in[2. Side note here but Stevie Clark is about to have the most JamesOn freshman season since JamesOn shot approximately 289 wide-open threes his freshman year in ’05. It’s going to be delightful, he will have no conscience and he won’t need to.]. The biggest question mark is, as it usually is, going to be on the interior. Can Soucek bang around like Jurick did? Will Cobbins be able to shoulder the load more effectively? What do you get out of Gaskins on the inside? All questions that will likely decide the fate of next year’s team.

For now though, we just get to dream.


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