LAS VEGAS – Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart doesn't regret not entering this year's NBA draft, but he also doesn't plan to pass on the next one.
Smart told Yahoo! Sports that, barring injury, he will enter and stay in the 2014 NBA draft following his sophomore season. He was projected to be a candidate for the No. 1 pick in last month's draft, but decided to stay in school.
Smart, 19, said he has told Oklahoma State athletic department officials that he plans to go to the NBA after this coming season.
"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."
Smart and Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott are the only two collegians among the 28 players participating in USA Basketball's mini-camp this week. One NBA executive said Smart and McDermott looked like they belonged against the NBA players in Tuesday's practice.
Smart averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists during his freshman season with Oklahoma State. During the USA Basketball camp, he is playing against two former NBA Rookies of the Year in Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard, as well as starting point guards Ty Lawson and Jrue Holiday. Smart says his play here has given him a boost of confidence that he can "compete against anyone in the country."
"You can only go to college and be a college athlete once," Smart said. "College is a great experience. This is where you have fun. This is where you find yourself as a young man and grow up into an adult before you enter the real world.
"The NBA is the real world. Everyone just sees the entertainment part, but there is a business part to it also."
McDermott, like Smart, believes it was a smart decision to return to school.
"I don't regret it one bit," McDermott said. "I don't think I was 100 percent ready at the time. You don't get your senior year in college back. People talk about how it's the best time of your life.
"I didn't want to go just because it was a weak draft. It doesn't mean I was more ready."
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