Marcus Smart Makes Solid Choice in Returning to School, NBA Scouts Shocked

Mark ScacewaterAnalyst IApril 17, 2013

Smart and Oklahoma State suffered a tough loss to Oregon in the NCAA Tournament
Smart and Oklahoma State suffered a tough loss to Oregon in the NCAA TournamentThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Oklahoma State combo guard Marcus Smart has, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, elected to return to school for his sophomore season. In doing so, Smart is bypassing a likely top-five selection in the 2013 NBA Draft.

While this may come as a shock to many people involved with the draft process, the immediate reaction on Twitter has been positive. Many are commending Smart for making a wise move. While an injury would be regrettable for Smart, I agree with those who say this is the right move.

For starters, Smart would not be headed to a quality team. His likely destination would be the Phoenix Suns or Orlando Magic, and both teams currently have point guards entrenched in that position.

Secondly, perhaps Smart watched the rookie campaign of a player with a similar skill set: Austin Rivers. Rivers had a quality season at Duke along with a dominating high school career in Winter Park, Florida. But his early success did not exactly translate to the NBA this season. Rivers will probably be a fine NBA player, but my point is I don't think Smart loses anything by skipping this draft.

The other major argument sure to make the rounds will be the depth of the 2014 draft. This is where Smart did his homework. Taking a quick look at a few mock drafts for 2014, the first point guard on the list is Andrew Harrison, who is still in high school. Smart will still likely go in the lottery in 2014, and probably in the Top 5 depending on team needs. This decision could even work in his favor—if the 2014 draft class is that good, maybe Smart slips to the bottom of the lottery and winds up in a more favorable situation on a team with several good pieces already in place.

As for his college team, the Cowboys earned a No. 5 seed in this year's tournament and should be better next season with an older Smart. Travis Ford seems to finally be turning Oklahoma State into a consistent winner, so another year in Stillwater isn't the worst thing for Smart.

If money was the motive, then Smart would already have signed with an agent and be on his way to a great payday. As it stands, it will be very interesting to hear his perspective on why he is doing something so rare these days for players in his position, staying in school.