Marcus Smart (USA Today Sports Images)
Too often these days we see young men with questionable credentials giving up the opportunity of a free college education in hopes of getting drafted by the NBA or other professional leagues only to find out later they made a big mistake.
What we don't often see is a player whose credentials are top-five-pick legitimate opting to return to school instead of cashing those paychecks so many of their peers covet. But that is what we're expecting to see Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart do when he addresses his future during a press conference Wednesday on the OSU campus in Stillwater, Okla.
Multiple media outlets in Oklahoma have reported Smart has decided to stay for his sophomore season, despite being ranked by some as high as the No. 3 overall pick in the June draft if her were to turn pro.
Smart earned the national Freshman of the Year award as well as the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year award this season helping the Cowboys to a 24-9 record. The Cowboys will at least be considered a serious threat to dethroning Kansas and Kansas State who tied for the regular season Big 12 championship this season.
The Cowboys might be even be the favorites considering Smart is returning along with fellow standouts Le'Bryan Nash and Markel Brown. Oklahoma State finished one game behind the two Kansas schools this season and lost to Oregon in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Take the money out of the equation for a moment and Smart's decision actually seems, well, smart. He definitely could use some work on his perimeter shooting. He made just 29 percent of his 3-point attempts this season and shot 47 percent overall. He made up for his shooting deficiencies by getting to the foul line and also by creating opportunities for teammates to score. Smart is already a very capable defender.
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford is undoubtedly celebrating the news that his three best players all plan to return for the 2013-14 season. He's probably already feeling the pressure of the expectations that will come with having all three back, especially Smart, who should be a national Player of the Year candidate as a sophomore.
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