To keep Dwight Howard, the Lakers will have to sell him on a vision for 2014 and beyond. As a result, if championships are his goal, the Rockets are the safer bet for a whole host of reasons. Read More. Written by Jonathan Tjarks on May 23, 2013
Marcus Smart took on critics who have questioned why he didn’t declare for the NBA draft.
Smart was projected as a top-five pick.
“First thing this morning I hear Skip Bayless say I had to go,” Smart said during a news conference announcing his draft intentions. “In my mind I'm like, ‘No disrespect, but why?' He says it's because the draft class is weaker this year than next year. Well, that's telling me, from a competitor standpoint, you have no respect for my game and my ability to compete with those guys.
“You tell a competitor that, it just fuels his energy to go out there and prove him wrong. It got me fired up. I wanted to go out there and start working out right then. And it definitely fueled my energy to come back here and start preparing for next year and getting better.”
The 2014 draft class is expected to be rich with talent, led by Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.
“His intent on winning is the best I've ever seen,” Ford said. “This season he's had a great impact. We had a total team effort, but no question, we had the best freshman in America on our team. The force he played with. He brings it every day in practice.”
The thirty candidates for Naismith Men's College Player of the Year were announced on Tuesday.
Anthony Bennett, UNLV Jared Berggren, Wisconsin Trey Burke, Michigan Isaiah Canaan, Murray State Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Ian Clark, Belmont Rotnei Clarke, Butler Jack Cooley, Notre Dame Allen Crabbe, California Seth Curry, Duke Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary's Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati Shane Larkin, Miami Doug McDermott, Creigton Rodney McGruder, Kansas State Ben McLemore, Kansas Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Mike Muscala, Bucknell Victor Oladipo, Indiana Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga Brandon Paul, Illinois Mason Plumlee, Duke Otto Porter, Georgetown Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State Russ Smith, Louisville Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State Jeff Withey, Kansas Nate Wolters, South Dakota State Cody Zeller, Indiana
Stephen Clark signed a national letter of intent to play college basketball at Oklahoma State.
“I've been waiting on this day for the longest,” Clark said Friday afternoon. “Me and my mom have been stressing through the whole process. We slowed everything down and narrowed it down to figure out where I'm going to school.
“This will make it a lot easier to focus on making myself a better basketball player and buckling down in the classroom to make sure I finish the year with all A's.”
Clark, a 5-foot-11 point guard who is considered a top-70 player in the class of 2013, chose the Cowboys over Baylor and UCLA.
Le'Bryan Nash wants to lead the NCAA in free throw attempts after proving through five games he can get to the rim and draw fouls.
Nash is averaging 9.6 foul shots per game, which ranks fourth nationally.
“I'm trying to lead the NCAA in free-throw attempts,” Nash said. “I'm just taking what the defense gives me. And I'm playing with my teammates. My teammates give me the ball in good situations, and when you have a scoring mentality, then defenses can't stop you. All they can do is foul you.”
Nash is connecting on 85.4 percent of his free throw attempts, a 12.4 percent improvement over his freshman season.
“I'm glad to hear him say that, about leading the country in free throws, because it's something he and I have talked a lot about,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “He should be shooting 10 or 11 free throws a game. And he can make eight or nine of those. That tells me, if he's getting to the foul line, not only is he getting points, it tells me his mind is right. Because he's playing to his strengths.”
Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti traveled to Stillwater on Thursday to watch the Oklahoma State Cowboys practice.
Presumably, Presti was there to scout Marcus Smart and Le’Bryan Nash.
Smart, a 6-foot-3 point guard, is averaging 13.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.4 blocks through his first five games, bringing immediate leadership and a defensive mentality that’s rubbed off on those around him.
The 6-foot-7 Nash is a talented wing scorer who excels at getting to the rim and finishing in a variety of ways.