Why Marcus Smart Is Just Getting Started with Dominant Performance vs. Memphis

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2013

Nov 19, 2013; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Marcus Smart celebrates after shooting a three-point shot against the Memphis Tigers during the first half at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Remember around this time last week when we were talking about how great the state of college basketball was because of the great play by the top freshmen? 

Well, it's time to alter that discussion a bit and add Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart to the list of players that will take the sport by storm all season long. 

Smart came out on fire on Tuesday night against Memphis by scoring a career-high 39 points in Oklahoma State's 101-80 victory. 

It wasn't just the scoring output of Smart that impressed everyone in the basketball world— including Kevin Durant, who was sitting courtside—it was the overall performance of the sophomore stud that did so. 

Smart shot 11-of-21 from the field, 12-of-16 from the free-throw line and had five steals, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks to round out his night. 

After his dominant performance against Memphis, who he may see again in the Old Spice Classic championship game on December 1, Smart is ready to take the nation by storm and steal away the National Player of the Year title from the four impressive freshmen and Creighton's Doug McDermott.

Smart has the stage in front of him, and the team around him, to steal the spotlight away from anyone that stands in his way of achieving that goal. 

Not only is Smart a strong offensive player, but he can also neutralize his opponent's best player on the defensive end. 

Just look at what he did to Memphis star Joe Jackson, who scored a meager six points on Tuesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena. 

Smart pestered Jackson for the entire game, and if that is a sign of things to come, Andrew Wiggins of Kansas better be prepared for the task ahead of him in the two showdowns between the Cowboys and Jayhawks during Big-12 play. 

Even if Smart does not record a career-high every time he steps onto the hardwood, he still has a complete team around him that can make him look good in other aspects of the game. 

Although he had just three assists on Tuesday, that total could have been much higher if Smart was playing in a closer game. 

Smart's ability to draw an extra defender opens up the game for the rest of the marvelous Cowboys backcourt that wasn't even at full strength against Memphis because Phil Forte was ill. 

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 12:   Marcus Smart #33 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys looks at the basket as Brenden Evans #20 of the Utah Valley Wolverines defends November 12, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys defeated the Wolver
Brett Deering/Getty Images

Just by drawing extra attention to himself, Smart could potentially increase the point totals of Markel Brown, Stevie Clark and Forte on any given night. 

Brown is an experienced senior who was able to put away 20 points himself in the blowout win over Memphis, while Clark is a developing talent who will add a ridiculous amount of depth to the Cowboys roster when conference play comes around.

Lest we forget Smart's high school teammate and current roommate Forte, who is capable of scoring in double digits in every game as well. 

Not only did Smart re-introduce himself to the nation enamored with four freshmen, but he also announced to the college basketball scene that he and the Cowboys are serious about making a national championship run.

With the 19-year-old Smart at the helm of the Cowboys ship, they could sail to new, unimaginable heights by the time the season concludes in Arlington, Texas on April 7. 


Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.