In a shocking development, Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart has decided to return to Stillwater for his sophomore season.
Smart announced his decision on Wednesday afternoon, telling fans in Stillwater that he knew exactly what he was doing by returning.
Marcus Smart: "I'm aware how much money I am giving up."— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) April 17, 2013
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news:
Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart will return for his sophomore season, sources tell Y! Sports. He could've been a top 5 pick in NBA Draft.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 17, 2013
As ESPN's Chad Ford points out, Smart's unexpected decision mirrors that of a recent player also from the state of Oklahoma:
If Woj report is true, first players since Blake Griffin to turn down a Top 3 pick to return to school ...— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) April 17, 2013
As arguably the best point guard prospect in America, Smart was a near-lock to be a top-three pick in what is classified as a weak draft. With next year's class supposed to be significantly more talented and deep, this recent development will undoubtedly have many scratching their heads.
But Smart is a player with strong character who values winning and the collegiate experience, and you can't blame the 19-year-old for wanting to stay a kid a little while longer.
Not only is another year of college education invaluable, but he will return to spend another year with lifelong best friend Phil Forte, who will also return to OK State as a sophomore.
Moreover, despite 2014's strong anticipated draft class, don't assume to see Smart's stock plummet, who tallied a staggering 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.0 steals per contest as a freshman this past season.
He isn't the most athletic prospect in the country, but he has ideal NBA size (6'4", 225 pounds), the intelligence and always shows his unbelievable maturity down the stretch of big games.
With Smart returning, how far will Oklahoma State go next year?
He's the exact type of hard-nosed player you want leading your team.
While Smart's shooting (29.0 percent from long range) and ability to take care of the ball (3.4 turnovers per game) left a little to be desired, those are two things that can be improved.
And considering he is rejoining the majority of a returning roster that earned the No. 5 seed this past NCAA tournament, a deep postseason run to further cement his top-prospect status is certainly a possibility for Marcus Smart and the Cowboys.
In fact, with this news, Bill Self and Kansas' streak as Big 12 regular-season champs is in major jeopardy.