The skill Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart is best-known for in college basketball circles these days isn't his quick hands on defense, his ability to attack the rim or his oft-praised leadership qualities.
None of those have drawn nearly as much attention as Smart's unseemly habit of flopping to try to draw fouls.
It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when Smart became known as the sport's most notorious flopper, but the future lottery pick has provided opposing fans ample ammunition the past few months.
He performed a Cristiano Ronaldo-eque dive trying to draw a flagrant foul on Colorado in late-December. He recoiled as though he'd taken a Mike Tyson punch to the jaw after an elbow from Kansas' Wayne Selden grazed his mouth on Jan. 18. And he gave an Oscar-worthy performance bringing the ball up court in a Jan. 27 loss to Oklahoma, delivering a forearm shiver to Buddy Hield while simultaneously throwing his head back as though he had been the one who got hit.he pulled off the rare double flop trying to draw a charge on Cyclones guard DeAndre Kane. Referees wisely let the first flop go and called Smart for a block on the second one, but they didn't catch on as quick in double overtime when he drew an elbow picking up Kane near mid-court and appeared to embellish the contact with a yellow card-worthy dive.
All the gamesmanship from Smart has turned an ultra-talented, otherwise likable future lottery pick into the Big 12's most hated villain.
Kansas State fans serenaded Smart with "You're a flopper" chants last month after he fell to the floor taking a shoulder from Thomas Gipson. An Oklahoma student brought a homemade "Marcus Smart flop counter" to last week's game in Norman. And Kansas fans have amused themselves making videos mimicking Smart or creating pictures in Photoshop of Smart flopping from being hit with a feather pillow or being bowled over by a girl blowing a dandelion.
If Smart doesn't mind the mockery or the damage he's doing to his reputation, then there's certainly a case to be made for his flopping.
He has drawn some calls he wouldn't otherwise have gotten because of it. Perhaps he also has gotten inside the head of a few opposing players and thrown them off their games a bit. Win at all costs, right?
Still, just like when a player with the ability of LeBron James, Chris Paul or Manu Ginobili deigns to flop to draw a call in the NBA, it's almost embarrassing that Smart has to resort to such tactics in college. It's overshadowing all the many other attributes that make him an All-American candidate and a future NBA standout.
Smart is almost always the most talented player on the floor when Oklahoma State plays. Hopefully he'll soon decide that flopping to gain an extra edge is beneath him.
- Sports & Recreation
- Marcus Smart