Smart detailed his decision to Reid Forgrave at the Under-19 World Championship.
The first-year Cowboy guard was an instant sensation, averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists en route to 1st Team All-America recognition. Smart led the Cowboys to 24 wins and their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2010, but the stay was short-lived. The selection committee’s absurd seeding of the Pac-12 tournament champion Oregon Ducks expedited OSU’s exit from the Big Dance.
And indeed, in the above linked report from Pistols Firing, Smart does cite the “bad taste” the abrupt tournament departure played in his decision.
When he announced in April, Smart said he was “bashed” for choosing to stay. The new standard of NBA draftees leaving college as soon as possible has cast a negative stigma on multiple-year college players. It’s an absurd stigma that, as more players like Smart opt to stay, should be disproved.
The Louisville Cardinals ran to the 2013 national championship with a veteran roster. In the title round, UL beat a youthful Michigan Wolverines bunch. Perhaps recognizing the ceiling for improvement, Michigan retained potential lottery picks Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary.
Michigan is an early front-runner for the 2014 national championship, and so is Oklahoma State. The Cowboys return forward Le’Bryan Nash alongside Smart, giving head coach Travis Ford a one-two combination capable of challenging the favorite Kansas Jayhawks for the Big 12 title.