Basketball is a game that only consists of five players on the court for each competing team at any time. At competitive levels such as the National Basketball Association, Atlantic Coastal Conference, or Big East, all five players have to work together to be competitive and record a victory at the end of the night.
In other conferences that lack the competitive nature of the previous mentioned, a single player can often times dwarf the “team” aspects of the game and seal victories on his own. One conference where this has became very apparent over the last couple years is the Big 12. In the past 10 years, the Big 12 has had 3 Naismith College Player of the Year awards handed out: T.J Ford (2003), Kevin Durant (2007), and Blake Griffin (2009). All three of these players won the Naismith Award in either their Freshmen or Sophomore seasons.
It is irrelevant to study NCAA basketball teams any more and evaluate them on the criteria of experience. The new NCAA basketball era is now prided upon this young high school talent that can make an immediate impact on the game before most likely deciding to turn professional.
Oklahoma State University (OSU) has succeeded in obtaining superior talent in Travis Ford’s 2011 recruiting class. Le’ Bryan Nash proved he could come in his first year and make an impact, collecting Big 12 Freshmen of the Year honors in the process.
This year, Ford has added talent to aid in Nash’s presence in the form of Marcus Smart. Smart is an explosive 6’4 guard out of Flower Mound, Texas who was heavily recruited out of high school by some big name universities. ESPN rates Smart as the #10 recruit coming out of high school which probably contributed to his early naming to the Freshman All-American Team.
When asked about the accolade Smart replied, “This is a great honor, and a great thing to be a part of. It’s something that makes me just want to go out there and work even harder. Everyone on the team is very anxious and can’t wait to get back on the court.” And did I mention, thanks to Smart’s decision to commit to OSU, his teammate Phil Forte from Flower Mound, Texas also decided to attend Ford’s talented roster. Forte could unquestionably end up being the top three point shooter in college basketball at the end of the 2012-13 season. Forte recently won the U.S. Marines Boys’ 3-Point Championship in Chicago, Illinois.
So the question remains: being so high-profile and talked about, can Marcus Smart take control of a Big 12 game and boost the talent level of Oklahoma State during the 2012-2013 season?
To answer that question, check out this YouTube video and get ready for some Cowboy Basketball.