Smart, along with Le’Bryan Nash and Markel Brown, announced today at the OSU Student Union that he will not declare himself eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft. He, and they, will be coming back to play in orange and black for coach Travis Ford.
Let the debate begin. And, of course, it has already begun.
Smart is projected to be a top-five (or as high as top-three) pick if he foregoes his college eligibility to jump to the NBA. Delaying that move means leaving guaranteed money – a lot of it – on the table with the risk of injury or a sophomore slump that would keep him from next year being the same hot commodity he is now.
But it is his decision to make.
And I like it. And no, it’s not because I’m an OSU alum.
It’s just that there are only so many chances in life to do certain things. If he wants to play for a Final Four and national title with the friends and teammates he has acquired in Stillwater, it’s not the worst decision he could make. Student-athletes of today prove on a daily basis that there are far worse decisions to be made.
It is likely that his game will improve before he hits the big stage. It is likely that he will mature more physically, emotionally and mentally over the span of a year, which would better prepare him for the life of an NBA player.
It is likely that some or many of his goals, the reasons for staying another year at Oklahoma State, will be realized.
And really, it’s OK to just be a college kid for a while. Those days will pass quickly enough.
So yes, I like the decision.
And yes, I will enjoy cheering for him in orange and black for one more year.