By Tyler Leli @jetleli on March 26, 2014
Oklahoma State was knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the round of 64 by Gonzaga, which spurred fans to begin speculating over whether Marcus Smart would leave for the NBA Draft. This is because the sophomore PG averaged 18 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game this season, and many felt he didn't need any more seasoning in college. On the contrary, I have provided five reasons why Smart should return to college.
The 2013-14 season didn't end up quite how Oklahoma State expected, as they went 6-11 over their last 17 games and finished eighth in the Big 12. With only two seniors departing town after the season Oklahoma State has reason to believe it could turn things around next season. With Smart on board it would have a great chance to win the Big 12 and make a deep NCAA tournament run.
NBA teams want to draft the most complete player available, but Smart has a hole in his mid and long range shooting game. During the 2013-14 season, he shot 29.9 percent in three-point field goals and 42.2 percent in all field goals. Rounding out this rough edge of his game would make Smart a legitimate option for the top pick in 2015.
One thing that has dogged Smart throughout his college career is an aptness to flop at the slightest bit of contact, which has drawn the ire of coaches, fans and even fellow players. NBA teams do not look upon players flopping with much happiness, and the league is attempting to force players to avoid the act by fining them. Smart would be wise to stay in college and learn how to take contact without flailing like a fish out of water.
Aside from just flopping, Smart has also had questions about his maturity spawned on by shoving a Texas Tech fan during a game. This incident was reprimanded with a three-game suspension, but it is obvious that NBA executives everywhere will make sure to grill Smart heavily when he does decide to enter the draft. Coming back to college for another year would show some maturity, and surely be a plus for Smart's future draft stock.
The 2014 NBA Draft is full of top end talent, and the likes of Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Noah Vonleh would likely result in Smart being pushed out of the top five. By coming back to college and showing a bit of maturity, and improving on subpar areas of his game, Smart would likely end up being a candidate for the No. 1 pick in a 2015 NBA Draft that isn't quite so top heavy.
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