Unbeknownst to most of the country, there was a lottery pick on display last night that was not in the United Center for the Champion’s Classic. He was equally as impressive as Andrew Wiggins in limited time, but was more consistent.
Oklahoma State Cowboys sophomore guard Marcus Smart elected not to go pro after an impressive freshman campaign last season. He could have, but there was work yet to be done. Tuesday night’s contest against Utah Valley Wolverines probably was not one circled on Smart’s calendar, but this contest was a special one for Smart.
High school teammate Phil Forte has lead the Cowboys in scoring this season, but Smart has stolen the show all season. In this game, Smart stole everything and anything that crossed his path. He was able to collect nine of the Cowboys’ 18 steals, setting a school record for steals in a game.
Smart has worked on fine-tuning his perimeter shooting and lead the team in 3-point attempts and makes. His shot has improved, and looks much more natural than it did last season. While Smart continues to seek a consistent stroke from outside, Forte has led Oklahoma State’s impressive 3-point onslaught.
Forte represents a common upward trend in Stillwater, Okla. The Cowboys are shooting a shade over 48 percent from 3-point range. This is not a half-hearted statistic as Oklahoma State has gone 26-54 from outside in only two games this season. Coupled with the stellar guard play from both Smart and Forte, it shouldn’t be a shock that the Cowboys pulled away early against Utah Valley and never looked back.
Jack Dooley is a Big 12 Basketball writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @jackdooleyOCS.