Why Is Everyone Criticizing NBA Prospect Marcus Smart For Choosing To Return To School For One More Year?
Just about everyone expected Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart to leave school after his freshman season in order to enter the 2013 NBA Draft. He was projected to be a top-five pick in the draft, so it made perfect sense for him to make the jump. While other guys are declaring early without the guarantee of being a lottery pick, Smart was basically guaranteed a multimillion-dollar contract. So, declaring for the draft was seen as—pardon the pun—the “smart” thing to do. But then, a funny thing happened on Tuesday night: Smart reportedly chose to turn down the NBA in order to play one more year in college. And Twitter blew up immediately.
We won’t show you all of the tweets that we saw. But, if you missed them, here’s a summary of what just about every single one of them said: “MARCUS SMART IS SUCH AN IDIOT!” That’s right. Rather than praise the kid—and college freshman still are “kids,” despite what you might think—for having the courage to go back to school to work on his game, people took issue with the fact that Smart had decided to stay in school. In this day and age of one-and-done players, it’s almost unheard of for NBA prospects to spend more than a year in college. So, most people think Smart is making the wrong decision by spending another 365 days at Oklahoma State. And, truth be told, they have a point.
Smart is taking a gamble here. This year, he’s essentially a lock to be a top-five or, at worst, a top-ten NBA draft pick. Next year, the draft is expected to be loaded with talent, and there’s a chance he could slide down the draft board as a result of it. There’s also always a chance that Smart could get seriously injured next year and miss out on the opportunity to enter his name into the draft. So, going back to school is definitely a risk.
However, I’m glad to see him doing it, and here’s why. Only Marcus Smart knows whether or not he’s ready for the NBA. Only Marcus Smart knows whether or not he’s mature enough, both on and off the court, to play in the NBA. Only Marcus Smart knows whether or not he’s prepared to handle the day-to-day life of being an NBA player. So why is everyone else trying to make the decision for him?
If he doesn’t feel he’s ready for the NBA yet, then let him spend another year in college. In the long run, that might be the best decision for him and the one that he knew he had to make. So leave him alone and let him make it. Otherwise, the next kid that comes along that wants to make the same decision that Smart just did might not be courageous to make it. And that’ll be a real shame.