Marcus Smart: It’s All F*cked Up Now
Marcus Smart was a McDonald’s All-American and the number one rated point guard nationally in his high school class. He enrolled at Oklahoma State where he led the Cowboys to an NCAA tournament berth with a 24–8 record, averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game in his freshman year. He also led the Big 12 in steals.
Marcus Smart would’ve been a top 5 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Instead of accepting a lifetime of financial security, Smart decided to return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season. It is at that point everything went to shite.
A friend of mine from law school has a saying that applies here, “Never turn your back to the money.” Was it noble and admirable of Smart to want to return to school because he loves his teammates and wanted to win a national championship? I don’t think anyone would say that it wasn’t. Was it a prudent long-term decision in the best interest of Marcus Smart? With all that has transpired, I don’t see how anyone can say that it was.
According to scouts, Smart needed to improve his three-point shooting and ball handling. While he has cut down on his turnovers, his three-point percentage has actually dropped to 28%. Has he improved by coming back to college? Smart has great size, quickness and athleticism, but struggles from behind the arc and is falling apart right in front of us. Where is head coach, Travis Ford?
Smart kicked a chair in frustration while scoring only four points in a win against West Virginia. He has also earned a reputation as a notorious flopper. Oklahoma state is 4-6 in conference record, and now we have what I will refer to as “The Shove.”
I’m not here to argue Smart’s justification or lack thereof for “The Shove.” The fan, Jeff Orr, has a history of antagonizing players, but the video released by Texas Tech seems to refute Smart’s claim of a racial slur. Even if it confirmed inappropriate language, “The Shove” is a loser for Smart on at least three levels.
The first and most obvious is that if we have learned anything over the last decade, it’s that players going into the stands will result in general disdain from the public, and swift and severe punishment, no matter how warranted or justified the action may have been. Ron actually had some words of wisdom for Marcus Smart after hearing about the incident.
The flopping and the chair incident seem to demonstrate that Smart is cracking under the pressure of being the man. Smart is not having a bad season, but he is not having a good one either, if good is measured by showing improvement on weaknesses in his game and leading Oklahoma State to a Big 12 title with a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. As a lottery pick and a point guard, he most likely would be the face of his franchise at the next level. To his credit, he has been contrite in his apologies after each incident, but this does not burnish his credentials as the anchor of a program, a lot to think about for a twenty year old.
Marcus Smart is a young black man. Jeff Orr is a middle-aged white man. The former pushing the latter is just not a good look in our society. If you think talent evaluators are impervious to that kind of regressive thinking, you should take a look at some of the anonymous quotes about Michael Sam.
Hopefully Marcus Smart can recover after serving his three game suspension. However, if this season negatively affects Marcus Smart’s draft stock, we can only think about Puff (He will always be Puff to me. I don’t know who Diddy or P. Diddy are) at the end of victory. “It’s all f*cked up now. What I’m a do now, huh? What I’m a do now? It’s all f*cked up now.”