Jamie Squire/Getty Images(STILLWATER, Okla.) — Marcus Smart is bucking the trend.
The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year announced he will return for his sophomore season at Oklahoma State.
In an age where many athletes of Smart’s ability are opting to leave school early, Smart, who many thought would be drafted in the top-five of this years NBA Draft, decided to stay.
The 6-foot-4 Smart made the announcement alongside his teammates Markel Brown and LeBryan Nash, who also announced they were staying in Stillwater.
“There’s a lot of speculation going. I’ve been bashed and criticized that I probably made a mistake of coming back here, the NBA will be there, I should have took it, and this year’s draft class is much weaker than next year’s,” Smart said at a news conference at the university’s student union.”But I think I made the right decision. All that was telling me, from those people that said that, is they don’t have confidence in my ability and my game to compete with those players next year. You guys have given me that confidence to do that, so I chose to stay here. I’m aware of how much money I am giving up.”
Smart averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game last season.
The Cowboys now return their top-seven scorers from last season’s team that went 24-9 and made the NCAA Tournament.