Julius Randle and Isaiah Austin are still 7-8 years away from the prime of their careers. Randle is better equipped to physically dominate undermanned opponents, but there arenít many of those guys at the next level. And while he is the safer bet right now, that doesnít mean itís a guarantee. Young big men donít necessarily develop on a straight line. Read More. Written by Jonathan Tjarks on Dec 09, 2013
Marcus Smart returned home from the USA Basketball minicamp this week.
Smart didn’t log any minutes in Team USA’s Blue-White scrimmage, but he’s bringing home a newfound confidence in his abilities and intentions to compete at the pro level.
"I don't feel that far removed from them," Smart said of competing against the likes of Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard. "I still have a lot of work, obviously, but it's not a surprise for me now.
"I got a taste of what it feels like to play on the next level with that group of guys, and it's not as big of a surprise for me as I expected it to be."
Smart plans to take it easy for a few weeks before reporting back to campus for what he recently determined will be his final year at OSU.
"I decided to stay one more year at Oklahoma State to get myself ready for the NBA and the next level," he said. "It was kind of coming up here and playing with these guys, just getting a taste of it.
"I felt like one (more) year was good for me to stay. Staying another year (beyond his sophomore season) wouldn't really help me at all. One is fine, but I doubt another year would be as beneficial as the one year I decided to stay."
Travis Ford was asked where Marcus Smart would've been selected in last month's NBA draft.
"Two," Ford answered quickly. "Orlando was picking him no matter what."
Smart has drawn high praise from just about anyone who has ever seen him play.
"I've never been around another player in my whole life -- not when I was a player and not since I've been a coach -- that is able to bring it EVERY SINGLE DAY," Ford said. "I don't care if it's two-a-days, three-a-days or five-a-days. I don't care if it's 6 a.m. I don't care if it's the day after a big win. It's ridiculous. I knew he was a great leader, but it's even been a shock to me. Everybody, at some point, has a bad day in terms of coming ready to play. But he never takes a day off. He comes everyday to win every drill. Everyday. Every drill. I don't care when it is or what it is. Everyday he's ready. It's ridiculous."
Smart was the only college player invited to the USA Basketball’s July minicamp.
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.