Thursday, January 16, 2014

OSU’s Marcus Smart returns to scene of backflip

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson watches from the floor as Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart recovers a fumbled ball by Johnson with seconds remaining in the game on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. The turnover nullified the the Jayhawks' comeback effort. At right is Kansas guard Ben McLemore and Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson watches from the floor as Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart recovers a fumbled ball by Johnson with seconds remaining in the game on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. The turnover nullified the the Jayhawks' comeback effort. At right is Kansas guard Ben McLemore and Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown.


Marcus Smart — basketball player deluxe — scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Oklahoma State’s 85-80 victory over Kansas University last Feb. 2 in Allen Fieldhouse.

Smart — gymnast extraordinaire — put an exclamation mark on his and his team’s performance by performing a celebratory backflip once the final horn sounded.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound sophomore, who certainly will hear a lot about the flip from the fans in pre-game warmups prior to Saturday’s 3 p.m. return game at KU, discussed his actions with the Journal-World at this year’s preseason Big 12 Media Day event in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

“We accomplished what most teams dream of accomplishing. We beat Kansas at Kansas. Not many people can say they’ve done it,” Smart said. “It was a feeling of accomplishment. In high school, I did it (flip) after my two state championship games (at Marcus High in Flower Mound, Texas).”

The two-time state champ learned the move many years before that.

“I used to (back)flip when I was a little kid,” Smart said.

Smart, who took a 17.8 points per game average into Wednesday’s home victory over TCU, also rankled some KU fans during the preseason when he spoke to USA Today about KU freshman Andrew Wiggins.

“They are saying he is the best college player there is and he has not even played a game yet,” Smart said. “Of course that hypes me up. It is all talk. He still has to put his shorts on one leg at a time like I do. It is all potential. I am not saying he can’t do it. But he has not done it yet.”

He told USA Today he’d welcome the challenge of guarding Wiggins.

“I am not going to back down from any challenge,” Smart said. “Like I said, you are going to have to prove to me. I am a fighter; I will keep fighting and will never give up ... All the power and credit to him. Congratulations for the Sports Illustrated, all the hype, congratulations to him. But that’s definitely a lot of pressure on him.”

When the Journal-World asked Smart about Wiggins at Media Day, Smart said: “I anticipate he’ll come out and give Oklahoma State his best shot, especially with the comments people have blown out of proportion. I can’t control what people think. I definitely think he’ll come out and give us his best game.

“Everybody makes it into a big rivalry especially with us beating them at Allen Fieldhouse,” Smart added of the matchup. “That intensifies the rivalry. We have a lot of great players. They have a lot of great players.”

KU, of course, actually has already avenged the loss at Allen of a year ago. Stinging from that defeat, the Jayhawks 18 days later prevailed, 68-67, in double overtime in Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. Smart had 16 points off 2-of-14 shooting (11 of 14 from line) in that game.

Smart, who shocked the college basketball world by returning to OSU for his sophomore season, has sparked OSU to a 15-2 overall record, 3-1 in Big 12 play, entering Saturday’s game. KU is 12-4, 3-0.

“I couldn’t live with myself. As one of the leaders on the team, I felt I let my team down,” Smart told the J-W, referring to his OSU squad suffering a second-round loss to Oregon in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. “I owe it to my team to do better than that. To walk out on them like that ... what kind of a leader is that? A lot of people were skeptical. They wouldn’t believe me. How could you turn down that much money? I’m not turning it down,” he added, as the money figures to be there again after his soph season.

KU coach Bill Self, who graduated from Oklahoma State, said Smart is “a top five draft pick. He is strong, a great competitor. It’s probably as athletic a team as we have in America. It’ll be a fun game. It’ll be hotly contested. They celebrated in our building. We went down there and celebrated in theirs. Our fans and players remember the disappointment we had (in Allen). That was a long (home) winning streak snapped (33 games). We were able to go down there and get one on the last possession when ‘Naa’ (Tharpe) made a great shot (7-footer in lane with :16 left in double OT). It should be fun.”

Vote pleases KU official: KU associate AD Jim Marchiony after the Board of Regents voted 8-to-1 with one abstention to endorse the proposed $17.5 million apartment building for 32 KU men’s and women’s basketball players and 34 other students who will not be athletes: “We appreciate the support of the Regents and eagerly look forward to getting started on this exciting project,” Marchiony said.

Self has said the project is needed. “Housing, where our student-athletes reside now, is way, way, way, way behind what the competitors would be housing their student-athletes in, in a big way,” he said recently. “They deserve to have a situation to live in which they can be monitored, in which they can obviously have more security. If you recruit some guys into your program, and hopefully we’ll continue to do so, where there’s very little security and people can come and go as they please and basically take away all privacy these youngsters have, I don’t think that’s the intent of being a student athlete. I think we should provide our student-athletes a little protection, so therefore they can at least have a better experience. And of course we want them to be comfortable and have the same type of living conditions as the other people we’re recruiting against.”

He added he sees no negatives in the plan, which would be paid for by private donors and bonds.

Embiid, Wiggins 1-2: ESPN’s Chad Ford updated his draft projections on Wednesday. KU’s Joel Embiid is projected as No. 1 pick overall, KU’s Andrew Wiggins No. 2 and Wayne Selden No. 20.


Erich Hartmann 3 months ago

Remember from the WiggyTapes (on Youtube) and from earlier this season: whenever an opposing crowd chanted at him "overrated", he literally went off bigtime, like only an overall #1 talent can. Want to bet on Andrew Wiggins over Marcus Smart? I do!


Yonatan Negash 3 months ago

Final thougths, Kansas will win Saturday against Oklahoma State.

I honestly can't think of how Oklahoma State can beat us. All the variables I've reviewed say Kansas will win.

Home field alone give's us a 3 point advantage.


Nick Rushton 3 months ago

Wiggins is going get 30+ on Saturday. He is due for his destined signature breakout game and has a chip on his shoulder from Smart's comments. JoJo, P. Ellis, WSJ, and Naa will keep the OSU defense honest and Wiggins will absolutely shine in the biggest game in the Phog this year. P.S. can't wait to be part of the crimson/blue/panorama pic!


Bryce Landon 3 months ago

If OSU comes in wearing black, we should take the opportunity to wear red.


Waylon Cook 3 months ago

OSU will get their 2nd loss in Sunflower state this year


Robert Robinson 3 months ago

We have to stay out of foul trouble. Smart is going to drive at us and try to draw fouls guaranteed. Especially wiggins


Alex Resnik 3 months ago

My favorite thing to do looking into big games is looking at how we will defend the other team.. Here is my BOLD A$$ prediction:

Smart: Selden Brown: Naaaaaaa Williams:Ellis Nash: Wiggins Murphy: Embiid

I have Wiggins on Nash for 2 reasons: 1. Perry struggled defensively against ISU 2. Self did the same sort of thing agains Missery when T-Rob guarded the lesser Pressey. I could be off my rocker, completely wrong, or right on the money and we win by 40!


Chris Shaw 3 months ago

Marcus Smart may have OSU across his chest and wear black and orange, but that kid impresses me to the max. He is one of my favorite college basketball players and I hope it continues as he transitions to the NBA.

If you've never heard or listened to Marcus Smart speak, he speaks very crisp and eloquently. IMO he was one of the best floor generals and leaders I've seen in quite sometime at the college level.

Some people (Kansas Fans) may not like bluntness, but that kid impresses me the more I watch and read about him. He is an amazing leader that people gravitate towards. And...I was front row where Smart did that back flip. His Back flip ticks me off, but I give him a 9.4 as it was pretty impressive to see him do that back flip round-off.

Can't wait to see Selden and Wiggins take turns guarding Smart on Saturday.


Tony Bandle 3 months ago


1] Smart will most likely have another great game....but it won't be enough.

2] The new housing is planned for "south of Allen Fieldhouse". I think the baseball stadium and Oliver are there right now. Am I correct in assuming the housing will be placed in the area of the soon-to-be-abandoned soccer and softball fields?

3] Nice to see we are one of eight teams capable of the NC....come March, it will look even better.

4] Looking at the photo above at the cheerleader with the great cleavage, her expression perfectly sums up how we all felt at that very moment!!

5] Match-ups on Saturday will be key.....not so much as they match up against us but rather how we best match up to take advantage of them. By the way...the only one that can stop Jo Jo is Jo Jo.

6] Now we have "Pants on Backwards" and "Backflip Boy" both from the same University....and peolpe say there is no God!!

7] Kansas 81 - OSU 70.


Tommy Kueser 3 months ago

We need to play good TEAM defense, Block out after the shot, dive for loose balls. We win the game and exit with class.


Robert Brock 3 months ago

The Hawks need to do a better job of blocking-out or Smart will kill us on the boards like he did at AFH last year.


Titus Canby 3 months ago

“We accomplished what most teams dream of accomplishing. We beat Kansas at Kansas. Not many people can say they’ve done it."

If I were him, I would have backflipped too. This quote shows what a big deal it is for anyone to beat us at home. And shows us some respect.

Now, let's just not let it happen again.


Brett McCabe 3 months ago

A 6-4, 220lb guy doing a back-flip? That is absolutely crazy.

Smart is a load and we'll see if we are up to the challenge on Saturday. As proven last year, the crowd won't win the game.

This is the game where we will see if our freshman are making significant steps since SDSU. Can we D-up and win this thing? Should be interesting.


Yonatan Negash 3 months ago

If memory serves me right, I recall Markel Brown having a career day against us last year.

The dude scored a game high and career high 28 points (22 points in the first half), connected on 7-of-10 treys.

I’m not sure Kansas would’ve lost that game hadn’t not been for Markel having the game of his life.

So far this year Brown has made 19-55 from the 3 point line; averaging 1trey per game.

I'll present the question,

• What is the likelihood Markel Brown has another career day against us on Saturday?

I’d say the probability of another career day is highly unlikely but then again anything is possible. After all that’s why we watch the games.

Of course, I’m taking into consideration coach will remind the team of what Marker Brown did to us last year, meaning Kansas will defend him very well.

I’d even be willing to go as far as saying; Markel Brown doesn’t score his average 16.8 points per game.

In my mind, if we contain Marker & Phil Forte, we’ll win the game.

Marcus Smart will get his, that’s a given.


Jason Keller 3 months ago

Thanks again, Marcus. Seeing you might be just what the doctor ordered for Wigs. Smart is a tough cat but I wouldn't think he would guard Wiggins much. He's tough enough and fast enough but he simply can't contest Andrew's jumper. Too tall, too long and too much lift. Makes for a good story though. I see him guarding the 1 and 2, obviously. I could be wrong.

I'm wondering how we're going to guard him. I could actually see Wiggins guarding Smart at times. I'm just not sure that Selden has the lateral quickness to keep Smart in front of him and I know that Tharpe does not. What can you say, Smart is a beast. It'll be a team effort.


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