If all goes according to plan for Marcus Smart, he should be in the NBA by the 2014-15 season. In fact, he said so himself yesterday to Yahoo.com.
“It’s safe to say that if, by the grace of God I’m healthy and everything, this will be my last year at Oklahoma State,” Smart said after USA Basketball’s mini-camp practice Tuesday at UNLV. “Nothing will change my mind on that. [Oklahoma State] understands. They didn’t figure I was coming back this year. They were just as surprised as everyone else.”
Perhaps after attending the USA mini-camp and playing against NBA players, Smart saw that he could hold his own and was ready for the next step. Like he said in the quote above, a lot of people were surprised that Smart even came back for an extra year at Oklahoma State after how well his freshman year went. There was talk of Smart going first overall had he declared.
Later on, reports came out that Smart had injured himself and that was one of the main reasons for his decision to stay an extra year. Smart has also repeatedly mentioned that he enjoys the college life and realizes he can never get that sort of experience back once he goes over to the NBA.
Many people have criticized his decision to stay in school an extra year. They mention the possibility of Smart getting injured and how deep next year’s draft is and believe that he should have left this year because he would have been drafted higher. The people criticizing Smart are probably the same people who mourn the “death of college basketball because of one and dones”.
Personally, I believe that Smart was free to make whatever decision he wanted and that we should be happy as basketball fans that he decided to stick around for another year. A quality basketball player makes games fun to watch and Smart is without a doubt one of the most skilled players in the nation.
When he does make his leap to the NBA, he should be highly successful, his drafting spot will ultimately not matter. What will make a difference will be his ability to make an impact for his team and his experience and skill level should allow for Smart to make a difference right awway.