Marcus Smart has faced plenty of scrutiny over the past couple weeks after his altercation with a Texas Tech fan, but he’s roared back after his suspension with three straight victories for Oklahoma State. After leading the Cowboys to wins over TCU and fifth-ranked Kansas, the Flower Mound, Texas native has been named NetScouts Basketball’s National Player of the Week for games through March 2nd.
The sophomore point guard began the week with 17 points (6-17 FG, 5-9 3FG), eight rebounds, seven assists, and five steals in a 76-54 rout over TCU. In a highly anticipated matchup against Kansas, Smart was 0-of-7 from the floor in the first half, but turned it on in the second half en route to a 72-65 win. He finished with 21 points (5-14 FG, 2-7 3FG), six rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
“After the game, I told him he’s a piece of work,” Oklahoma State head coach told the Associated Press after beating Kansas. “You have to stick with him, because he’s going to make plays. He’s a competitor. That’s what he did. He was huge down the stretch.”
Many were surprised last year when Smart returned for his sophomore season instead of declaring for the draft and turning down a likely top-five selection. Smart has been nearly the same player as last season, but his NBA draft stock has fallen in a more talented draft pool.
His size at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds paired with exceptional athletic ability is a major plus as a point guard. He’s been able to attack the rim and draw an average of 7.7 free throw attempts per game. Smart is averaging 17.6 points per game, but also makes an impact in the rebounding department with 5.7 per contest.
The biggest question mark comes in his shooting ability. When Smart returned to Oklahoma State, it was expected that he’d improve as a shooter and threat from deep; however, Smart is only shooting 29.3 percent from three-point range compared to his 29.0 clip as a freshman. With basically no improvement after a year of work, it may be tough for NBA teams to invest a top-five pick in a point guard who struggles to stretch a defense. Smart should still be a lottery pick with his physical ability and if he improves as a shooter there’s no question that he’ll have a long NBA career.
Oklahoma State has now climbed out of the “bubble” talk for the NCAA tournament after three straight wins in Smart’s return. With Kansas State and Iowa State left on the regular season schedule, the Cowboys have a chance to put the finishing touches on their resume.
In the Big West conference, Chris Patton led UC Riverside to a double-overtime win against Cal State Northridge. The senior out of Australia has been named NetScouts Basketball’s International Player of the Week for games through March 2nd.
Patton finished with a season-high 30 points (13-19 FG) to go with 11 rebounds in 36 minutes of action to lead Riverside. It was a much-needed win for the Highlanders, who are now 4-10 in conference play.
The 6-foot-10 center is averaging 13.5 points and six rebounds per game this season. After spending his freshman and sophomore seasons in junior college, Patton has had a nice year at UC Riverside and will have a chance to play overseas.
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We are looking for interns and sales associates. If you’re interested contact us and forward your resume.Thanks to the Big West for the Patton photo.