Tag Archives: Marcus Smart

A Need for Better Crowd Control

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Texas Tech “Super Fan” Jeff Orr has a history of harassing opposing players.

Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart, wasn’t smart, when he shoved a fan in the late seconds of an emotional loss at Texas Tech. The three game punishment handed to him by the Big 12 conference is fair enough to deter another player from committing a similar act in the future. In the same vein, if what Smart claims Texas Tech super fan Jeff Orr said to him is indeed true, he should be punished too—Orr has since volunteered to not attend any more Texas Tech games the rest of the season. He should be punished in such a way, that changes fans behavior.

I’m not buying Mr. Orr’s statement that he only called Smart a “piece of crap.” I’m sure Marcus Smart has been called worse before and wouldn’t have reacted the way he did over being called a piece of crap. But I wasn’t there to hear it, so I’ll take both parties involved at their word. But, here in lies the problem with fan behavior. The things they do say, have said in the past, has been so vulgar and venomous, that this is the perfect time to use this situation to clean it up. Unacceptable fan behavior is out of control—whether it’s shouting obscenities and racial epithets at players or physically attacking opposing fans—and needs to be put back in its proper place.

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Let’s not all forget, these are games. Between the lines, it’s about healthy competition. The purpose is to have fun, the object is to win. Spectators should have the same mindset and act accordingly. Just because a fan spends their hard earned money for tickets, doesn’t mean they can say anything they want to opposing players. You can cheer for your team without degrading your opponent.

The NCAA and Conferences should hold their fans to the same standards as their Student Athletes. It should be the responsibility of each athletic director to protect visiting student athletes and coaches by any measure to protect the integrity of the game and their institution. The opposing teams shouldn’t be left as if they’re wandering alone in a wilderness.

Marcus Smart has apologized and will have to work diligently to wash away the stain of this incident, but so should Texas Tech for allowing this FAN-attic to verbally abuse visiting student athletes for all these years. Even though Mr. Orr has volunteered to remove himself from future Red Raider basketball games, Texas Tech should and needs to step up and punish him. Because fair or not, Mr. Orr’s antics are viewed around the country as the norm for Texas Tech fans, much in the way Smart’s reaction will be viewed as an indictment on his character. Texas Tech’s future action towards their “Super Fan” will go along way to change and raise the standard of fan behavior in sporting venues across America.

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Drafting Oklahoma State’s Point Guard #1 is a Smart Decision

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Marcus Smart should be the clear favorite to be drafted #1 overall in 2014.

It seems everyone talking and writing about College Basketball with their eye on the top NBA prospects are only focusing on the freshman; Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and now the Jayhawks surprise Center Joel Embiid. But, they’d be better served to pay closer attention to Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart.

The 6-4 220 pound point guard surprised NBA front office decision makers when he decided to return to Stillwater Oklahoma for his sophomore season. Mock drafts had him as a top two pick in 2013. All he’s done in his second collegiate campaign is up his scoring to 17 ppg, maintain his 5.8 rpg and 4.2 apg stat line and leading the OSU Cowboys to a top 10 ranking, while turning them into a legitimate NCAA title contender.

But as far as the pro ranks, he should be a top of the draft boards of at least four of the six teams who are at the bottom of the NBA standings, because none of them have a dynamic playmaking point guard, which is what Smart is.

The NBA is in the golden era of point guards, much in the way the 1980s were for big men. Point guards in the NBA are like Quarterbacks in Football. If you don’t have an all star or franchise one, you’re probably not winning. See the Milwaukee Bucks (worse record in the NBA at 8-35), Orlando Magic (2nd worse record in NBA at 12-33), Sacramento Kings (15-28) and the LA Lakers (16-29). The three other teams near the bottom of the league standings—Boston, Philadelphia and Utah—have franchise caliber point guards who are just getting started. In the case of the Celtics, Rajon Rondo is just returning from ACL surgery and the Sixers and Jazz are breaking in 2013 Lottery Picks Michael Carter Williams and Trey Burke. The other four teams at the bottom I mentioned should be targeting Marcus Smart.

In this NBA you need a point guard to go against Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Deron Williams when healthy. Then there’s the second tier guys like Mike Conley Junior, Damion Lillard, Jeff Teague and John Wall. Like I said, point guard in the NBA is like quarterback in the NFL, You need an elite or near elite caliber player at the position to compete for titles. Unless you’re the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers who’s point guards are 6’8 forwards with point guard skills.

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Smart averages 17.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

Smart returned to school to improve his game, not necessarily his draft stock. What I’ve seen from him is a more confident shooter—he shoots 43% in 2013 vs. 40% in 2012—but looks to take jumpers instead of barreling the lane for lay ups. His 5.7 rebounds and 4.4 assist per game are consistent with his freshman season. He’s a better defender and passionate leader. He has the size and skill to post up on the block, speed and athleticism to run an uptempo style of play. All qualities you want in a “face of the franchise.” In year two he’s proving what he did as a freshman was no fluke. When I watch this season’s crop of potential one and done players he may be up against for top billing in this coming June’s draft, he’s head and shoulders above. Many of them are struggling to adapt to the college game while he’s consistently dominating.

The only knock on Smart from scouts at this point is his attitude, which personally I don’t see as an issue. He has a tendency to display his displeasure in his body language on the court and sideline when it appears things aren’t going his or his team’s way. But, that really isn’t a problem. He’s not going off on teammates, coaches or referees. The emotion I’ve seen is mostly a show of passion for the game. Sure he kicked a chair a couple of times in the game against West Virginia when he was struggling. That’s passion, not an attitude problem. He’s 19 years of age and he did apologize for his actions immediately. This will pass. But, if a team in need of a point guard at the top of the 2014 NBA draft passes on him, they’ll regret it like the Atlanta Hawks did in 2005 when they passed on Deron Williams and Chris Paul for Marvin Williams. How did that turn out for everyone involved? Marvin Williams is arguably one of the biggest #2 overall bust in NBA history, and everyone linked to his selection with the Hawks are long gone. By the way, the Bucks took Andrew Bogut #1 that year. That could explain why they are where they are now as well.

So Bucks, Magic, Lakers and Kings, you’re all on the clock. If he declares for the 2014 NBA Draft, make the Smart choice.