Marcus Smart is the perfect player to root against. He’s a great talent and a smart kid. Two facts that shouldn't be overlooked, he’s talented and he’s a kid. After beating Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse last year, he did a celebratory flip right on the giant Jayhawk at half-court. Every Kansas fan took notice. It was a sign of disrespect, only it really wasn't. His flip acknowledged that beating Kansas wasn't just another win in a long season. Beating Kansas was an accomplishment worth celebrating. I hated him for it. And I loved him for it.
Smart could have been a top 10 pick in the NBA draft after his freshman season, and he could have begun earning millions of dollars. But he loved playing college basketball, and chose to come back. How can you not root for the rare kid, who makes that decision? His Oklahoma State team was supposed to be very good, and were the favorites to dethrone Kansas, as nine time Big 12 Champions. And when Kansas landed the top recruit in the country, who quickly became the focus of the basketball world, Smart took exception. And while most players play the public relations game, Smart wasn't afraid to voice his opinion.
“They are saying he is the best college player there is and he has not even played a game yet,” Smart told USA Today Sports. “It is all talk. He still has to put his shorts on one leg at a time like I do. It is all potential. I am not saying he can’t do it, but he has not done it yet.”
This isn't a kid just going through the motions, waiting for his payday. Marcus Smart is everything we want in a college athlete. But after a 15-2 start, his season quickly went to hell in a hand basket, finally hitting rock bottom when he let the words of a loud mouth set him off. Smart was obviously wrong for pushing the moron, but I loved how he took responsibility for his actions. Again, another rare quality in today’s athlete. Heck, it’s a rare quality in people today, no matter their athletic ability.
So I’m rooting for Marcus Smart, you know, except for when Kansas heads down to Stillwater next month. I hope Smart comes back and drops 30 points per game, and has a fantastic NBA career. I know he’ll be a model citizen on and off the court. The only bad guy in this whole mess, is the 50 year old who spent a nice junk of change, just to harass kids while they were playing a game.