Seth Davis, a writer for Sports Illustrated and an in-studio analyst for CBS' NCAA men's college basketball coverage, wrote this about Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart:
I suppose it's a long shot that Smart could win national player of the year, but I could make a good argument that he is the best player in the country. For evidence, look no further than the last 10 minutes of play in the Cowboys' 84-79 overtime victory over Oklahoma on Saturday.
With the Pokes facing a six-point deficit with five minutes to go in regulation, Smart hit a three-pointer deep in the corner; dropped in a difficult fadeaway bank shot; grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed free throw; got fouled on that rebound and sank two free throws.
That sent the game into overtime, where he fired a brilliant post feed to Le'Bryan Nash for a dunk-and-one and then made the defensive play of the game by putting such a clean block on OU guard Steven Pledger that the refs called a held ball with the possession arrow facing Oklahoma State. Smart then made two free throws to seal the win.
In all, Smart finished with a career-high 28 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Last Wednesday, Smart also had 10 points and three assists in 18 minutes in the Cowboys' blowout win over Texas Tech. Smart's one weakness is supposed to be outside shooting (he is making just 31.6 percent of his three-point attempts this season), but last week he sank 4-of-6 from behind the arc and 11-of-20 overall.
There is no
player in the country who impacts the game in more areas - including leadership
- than this guy.
And Jason King of ESPN.com chimed in with this about the Oklahoma State freshman:
The Oklahoma State guard might be the most unheralded player in the country right now. Seriously. The reason might be that on their own, none of his numbers jumps off the stat line -- he averages 14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game -- but then go back and look at that list collectively.
He's good at everything. Offense, defense, scoring and sharing, he is the consummate individual player and the consummate teammate.
In the victory against the Sooners, he had 28 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Just another day at the office. He's also the reason the Cowboys are poised for their first NCAA tournament bid since 2010.
Oklahoma State has won seven in a row. In that stretch, Smart is averaging 19.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.4 steals.