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Marcus Smart surprisingly (foolishly?) returning to Oklahoma State

Apr 17, 2013, 12:18 PM EDT

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart will return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season, according to John Helsley of The Oklahoman.

Smart’s decision is rather curious. He nearly certainly would have been a top-10 pick and had No. 1 overall potential this year. The point guard needs work – especially his jump shot and his ability to take care of the ball, which are both a big deal at his position – but his athleticism is tantalizing. Especially considering next year’s draft is projected to be better than this year’s, it’s difficult to see how Smart will make himself into a higher pick.

Maybe he likes college, and if so, good for him. But NBA decision makers will have sky high expectations for Smart next season, and his stock has a lot more room to fall than rise.

James Michael McAdoo also announced he’ll return to North Carolina for his junior season. A year ago, many considered McAdoo a top 10 pick. But by returning to school and not progressing as much as scouts had hoped, McAdoo sunk to fringe-first-round levels. Now, he’s stuck (unless he too just really enjoys college) at North Carolina for yet another year.

It’s a lesson I hope Smart considered when making his decision.

  1. thomaskouns - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Since when do we call a 19 year-old foolish for staying in college.

    First of all, its his decision and no body else’s.

    And why would you rip someone for staying in college, gaining maturity and becoming a more well rounded player. It’s universally agreed that both the college and pro games would be aided by kids staying in school longer.

    Low blow to rip an amateur athlete for staying in school.

    • illegalblues - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      i’m sure with his NBA contract he could afford to keep taking classes at OSU. if he gets hurt, he’s going to lose millions.

    • circuscivics - Apr 17, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      Because it is a foolish decision. You have to strike when the iron is hot. It’s nice to be a idealistic and a romantic, but in life, you’ll fare better being a realist. He, in most likely-hood, greatly diminished his future earnings. It’s not always about being good or the best. Many times, it’s about timing.

      • aboogy123456 - Apr 17, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        The big bucks are not on your first contract, they are on your second contract. If Smart thinks it will be easier to develop his game in the college level than go to the NBA, then why not? He will lose some money on his first contract, but with next year’s draft class he will probably be a lower pick and likely playing on a team some talent. If all these factors make him think that by his second contract he will be a better player, then he could be making a smart financial decision.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      Isn’t the point of college to set yourself up for the best job and to make the most money possible after you get out? If leaving college early is going to get him a better job that makes him more money, hasn’t college served its purpose?

  2. sl781 - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    A player staying in school and getting an education? Wow, what an idiot!

    • paleihe - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      He’s not getting an education. He’s learning how to play the game.

      • eugenesaxe - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM

        How do you know he doesn’t take his education seriously?

  3. livingsacrifice86 - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    @thomaskouns
    My thoughts exactly. Money isn’t the ONLY thing that matters

    • 4thquartermagic - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      So why couldn’t he put 10% of his first paycheck aside to pay for classes? College isn’t going anywhere, millions of dollars could disappear in an instant.

      Average folks go to college to get a career.
      Athletes (highly recruited ones) go to college to play sports so they can showcase their skills for the pros.

      Bottom line: he’s putting his 1-in-a-million chance to be a top pick at risk for what? School pride?

      His life, his decision, but if he blows his knee out or more likely has a down year, he won’t look smarter for having stayed.

  4. biggame28 - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    honestly I wish more kids would stay in school and develop. Yeah he’ll get less money being drafted later but its easier to improve your game in college (where you don’t really hsve to worry about being cut) than in the pros. If he got drafted in the top 5 and needed to time develop he’d be labeled a bust and let go of.

  5. thenew013 - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    must want his associates before he gets drafted. a college degree and an NBA career makes for a hell of a resume’.

  6. thenew013 - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    but if that was me im chasing the dollars. Unless my parents were rich then i would stay.

    • 4thquartermagic - Apr 17, 2013 at 3:21 PM

      What about chasing skirts?

      The buffet becomes much more plentiful when your a traveling NBA player.

  7. jimmerg31385 - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    With the rookie wage scale in place, the difference between being say the 5th pick or the 20th pick is about $1.5 mil a year. Certainly not a paltry sum of money, but the real money comes on the 2nd (and 3rd, 4th,etc) contract in the NBA. So, if a player feels that an extra year of college will help him be a better a player when he gets to the NBA and thus more likely to get a big extension after his 3rd year (maybe a max extension) its probably worth it in the long run. Not to mention as a high lottery you are going to a bad team, where as going late in the 1st round puts you on a good team. If you dont think that has any bearing on a players outcome just think about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kawhi Leonard.

  8. paleihe - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    If you think these guys are staying in college to get an education you’re crazy. They’re most likely doing it because they still want to develop. If he’s decided to stay, his family doesn’t need the money and he’s willing to risk it.

    Now, if he gets seriously injured, he’s definitely risking losing millions. If he’s a McAdoo type (don’t know his game cause I don’t follow college ball) then he wasn’t deserving of a high draft pick in the first place.

    However, if he does improve and move closer to a top 3 pick, he’ll be making much more guaranteed money. That’s most likely what he’s banking on. Pun intended.

    • 4thquartermagic - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      Pretty sure you can develop while still cashing big checks. There is the D-League and Overseas.

      • LPad - Apr 17, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        This is something that most stay in college proponents just don’t seem to understand. The NBA is able to develop players. Quite frankly, they probably do a better job. Whether they send them down to the D-League or they decide to keep them on the bench. Just about every player in the NBA is better now than they were when they were in college.

  9. eugenesaxe - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Good for him. Even if he does suffer a career-ending injury, he’ll be insured for millions, he’s not going to suffer.

  10. aboogy123456 - Apr 17, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I agree that players can develop and get better in the NBA, but there are a couple factors to consider why players would stick in college.

    First, there aren’t that many coaches that want to develop players in the league today. NBA coaches have a short life span, so they are constantly in win now mode so they can keep their jobs, and they are not as interested in developing guys. I’m a lakers fan, and I would have loved if D’Antoni spent more time developing devon ebanks and turning him into a rotational player.

    Second, I think people need to understand how confidence plays a role in improving your game. It’s easier for players to expand their games and try things they are uncomfortable with if they are going up against weaker competition. Marcus Smart is dominating college basketball, so he can practice different moves in real game situations. In the NBA, the competition is so tough that many guys will only do the things that they are super comfortable with, so it’s hard to develop those skills for game time. Just something to think about..

  11. iamhoraceknight - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    @pailihe…. He’s a 6″4 PG who ways 220. He’s a power guard.

    Mr Feldman, this article is part of what’s wrong with the NBA. Smart has great potential but is not ready for the NBA. 90% of the kids that come out are not NBA ready. The media and greedy agents push for these kids to come out early and make millions, but their careers are often short or not as good as it should have been. Smart is going to stay in school and develop his game. There is No guarantee that he will be drafted later next year. People are assuming that all of the Kentucky signees will pan out. ….

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 17, 2013 at 8:13 PM

      I will still argue that you develop your game faster when it’s your full time job and you go against better competition then you do when practice times are limited and you play two games a week against inferior competition.

      Smart gets to make the call that’s best for him, I hope it works out for him. But I never bought the development argument.

      • iamhoraceknight - Apr 22, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        And It’s A Valid Argument, however, most rookies hit that Wall. Most Kids are not ready to go from playing 25-30 games to playing a 82 game NBA season. …

  12. dohoangquan35 - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    how about Damian Lillard?

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