Marcus Smart Out of Control: Shoving Texas Tech Fan the Apex of Troubling Trend

C.J. Moore@@CJMooreHoopsCollege Basketball National Lead WriterFebruary 9, 2014

USA Today

UPDATE Sunday, Feb. 9, 6:12 PM ET: The Big 12 announced that Marcus Smart will be suspended for three games for inappropriate conduct with a spectator during the final seconds of Oklahoma State's loss at Texas Tech on Saturday. 

On Saturday night, the world witnessed what has been known to those surrounding the Oklahoma State basketball team for the last two months. 

Marcus Smart is out of control.

Smart was out of his mind when he went into the stands at Texas Tech and pushed superfan Jeff Orr, as per ESPN, but that's not when Smart lost control. That was just the climax.

This has been building as the losses pile up for the Cowboys—a team that was once ranked fifth has now lost four straight games. 

Two weeks ago, Smart kicked a chair against West Virginia when his team won, but he struggled. On Jan. 4, he pulled himself up over the rim on a dunk at K-State that resulted in a no-doubt technical and was a direct cause of his team's loss that day.

Last Monday at Iowa State, Big 12 referees finally caught on to his endless flopping, and when his act didn't get a call, he pouted.

On their own, each of these instances appeared to be small lapses in judgement. Together, they were signs of a renegade without an authority figure to hold him accountable for his actions.

Feb 8, 2014; Lubbock, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Travis Ford in the second half during the game with the Texas Tech Red Raiders at United Spirit Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford should have been that man, but it's understandable why he has stood by his player and hoped that he would eventually figure things out on his own. After all, Smart, in many ways, saved the Cowboys program. 

At Big 12 media day in October, I listened to Ford say that Smart had "never had a bad day" since he arrived in Stillwater. His attitude was always great. He never pouted. He never gave anything but maximum effort.

And a year ago, Smart changed the culture at Oklahoma State. He played so hard and with so much passion that his teammates couldn't help but try to match him.

"It's contagious," Ford said.

Smart was the leader of the Cowboys as much as his coach, and maybe even more so.

But when the Cowboys started to struggle this year, Smart, probably for this first time in his life, felt powerless on a basketball court. He didn't know how to handle the losing.

The longer it took Ford to regain control and put an end to Smart's act as a rebellious victim, the more likely that something like Saturday night was bound to happen.

As for what took place in Lubbock, it's important to acknowledge that Smart and Ford are not the only men who should step up and take accountability for what happened.

Orr said something to ignite Smart—he told Oklahoma State coaches it was a racial slur, ESPN.com reported—and honestly, it's surprising you don't see more of what happened in Lubbock.

I hear stuff from fans at nearly every college game I attend that makes me want to go up into the stands and ask the spectators, "Do you hear yourselves? These are kids. This is a game. This is a public place."

Cruel and hateful language is the norm, and it shouldn't be.

But Smart isn't the only one victim to it. It happens everywhere. And no matter what Orr said to him, there's no excuse for leaving the court and doing what he did.

Smart deserved to be suspended. He deserved to be held accountable for his actions.

And maybe if Smart had been put in his place before those final moments in Lubbock, an ugly scene never would have taken place.

C.J. Moore covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @CJMooreBR.