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Marcus Smart is one of college basketball’s most likable stars


Sports these days can make you cynical. With all the jersey popping, chest pounding and constant self-promotion, it’s sadly becoming less and less common to find a seemingly selfless star. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State’s sophomore stud, is delightfully bucking that trend.

Smart stole the show — and the headlines — on Tuesday night torching the Memphis Tigers for 39 points five steals, four rebounds, four assists and two blocks. He had it all on display. Smart could have easily jetted for the NBA this past season, and many prognosticators slotted him to go as high as the number two overall pick in the draft. Instead, he returned to Stillwater for his sophomore season despite plenty of criticism from fans and media who questioned his decision to leave all that money on the table and “roll the dice.”

Smart said he wanted to return because he had improvements he wanted and needed to make to his game. Tuesday was a pretty good reflection that he’s doing a decent job so far. What struck me most, though, wasn’t anything Smart did on the court. It was his demeanor and commentary afterwards. A lot of elite athletes are only concerned about themselves. Those folks are easy to identify. Many more “talk the talk” of “team” and “winning,” but it’s pretty easy to see through.

Marcus Smart, on the other hand, immediately endeared himself to me in the post-game. He came off as genuinely humble. Poised. Mature. Appreciative. It was incredibly refreshing. Makes me want to root for this kid and see him get everything he’s working for. Check out the post-game clip.

This is nothing new for Smart. In fact, it’s pretty par for the course.

Marcus, congratulations on a monster game on national TV. Luckily for fans, we’ll get to see a lot more of you this season. Stay humble.

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