Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart returned from a three-game suspension to record 16 points, 10 assists and six steals in Saturday's 84-62 win over Texas Tech, becoming the first player in Big 12 history to reach all three of those statistical marks in one game.
Smart was suspended for the previous three games—all Oklahoma State losses—for pushing a Texas Tech fan in the closing seconds of a Feb. 8 loss. After losing the first matchup by four points in Lubbock, Smart coincidentally made his return against the same team but with an entirely different result.
His record-setting performance helped the Cowboys—ranked No. 8 in the AP preseason poll—end a shocking seven-game losing streak, though it may be already be too late to salvage the incredibly disappointing season.
While Smart's incident with the Texas Tech fan drew most of the attention, there had been signs of trouble in Stillwater since January. The star point guard first showed his frustration in a Jan. 25 win over West Virginia, kicking a chair out of anger at his own poor performance. After that game, Smart acknowledged that he lost his composure and said that it wouldn't happen again, via Twitter.
Following Smart's first outburst, Oklahoma State—a team with national championship dreams—was suddenly staring at the aforementioned seven-game losing streak .
As poorly as things have gone for Smart and his team of late, the star point guard still has plenty of time to repair his draft stock, if not his team's season. The frustrated outbursts, while obviously not ideal, would probably matter more to NBA teams were it not for Smart's pre-existing reputation as a mature player with excellent intangibles.
No doubt that his reputation has taken a hit, but some teams will be impressed by his competitive fire. Unless he surprises us for a second consecutive year and skips the draft again, Smart is still a lock to go in the lottery.