This week’s spotlight will be on Oklahoma State freshman guard, Marcus Smart. Smart is listed at 6’4”, 225 lbs, which would make him a combo guard, in every sense of the word. He takes advantage of his size and strength against point guards, especially when driving to the basket. He shows decent ball handling skills, but is a bit undersized to play shooting guard for extended stretches. To this point in the season, Smart has logged 13.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. His most impressive attributes include excellent shooting form, deep range, and his willingness to get after it on defense and on the glass. He’s got a great overall feel for the game and is beginning to move well off the ball, especially against zone defenses.
Smart was impressive in some early season match-ups including his dominance over NC State’s Lorenzo Brown. He shows great decision-making skills in high pick and rolls, including the ability turn the corner. He’s not afraid of attacking the basket in both half-court sets as well as in transition, and has become a better finisher with contact. Smart is also a willing screener for his teammates.
Smart is a confident shooter and has a lightning quick release which makes him an ideal catch and shoot player. He’s shown range easily to the college three and beyond. When matched up against smaller point guards, he hasn’t been shy about posting up on the blocks to utilize his size advantage. He’s shown a quick spin to the baseline.
Defensively, Smart has shown he’s willing to get after it. There have been several games where he’s had four steals, highlighting his quick hands and anticipation. He often defends one of the other teams best players. He rotates well, especially to help in the post, and is quick enough to recover back to his man. Smart also gets after it on both backboards, with several impressive rebounding efforts this season. He logged 11 rebounds in match-up with Virginia Tech and nine in a win vs. Akron.
Smart plays a lot like James Harden, showing aggression on both sides of the ball. He’s able to create shots for himself and teammates, take over games as a scorer and playmaker, and play both ways as an aggressive defender and turn defense into offense. It’s clear Smart has made an immediate impact for the Cowboys and complements Le’Bryan Nash and Markel Brown well. Expect his level of play to go up several notches in conference games.
Amit Tailor is a scout for NetScouts Basketball and covers the Big 12.