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Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart Earning Praise
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Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

Here's Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News writing about Oklahoma State freshman point guard Marcus Smart:

After watching (Marcus) Smart dominate yet another major opponent (South Florida) in yet another Cowboys victory, it felt like time to thumb through the Sporting News college basketball preview issue to double-check whether he'd been included on one of our three All-America teams. Alas, we missed on that, but he was one of the five players on our all-freshman team.

That still puts us far ahead of the person who, with a number of games passed, ranked Smart as the No. 14 freshman in the nation.

No. 14! Among freshmen!

People, Marcus Smart has been the best college player in the nation to this point.

We knew he was going to be great. We did not expect that. Smart ranks only third on the OK State team in scoring (13.4), but leads in rebounding (7.4) and assists (5.0). He's had a completely transformative effect on a team that last season finished 15-18. It's far too early to say who'll be your Sporting News player of the year-UNLV's Anthony Bennett is pushing for that, as well as freshman of the year-but Smart is in the conversation.

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