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.


kellerman411 9 years 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.

Aaron Paisley 9 years ago

Smart may very be guarding Wiggins a lot on Saturday. Forte and Clark are both pretty small and will be Tharpe or Mason all day. Market Brown is only 6-3 and not as well built as Smart so he'll likely be on Selden most of the time. Nash and the guy who replaced Cobbins in the line up will be on the big which leaves Smart to guard Wiggins. I'm fully expecting Smart and Brown to be the two guys on Wiggins unless Self plays some small ball and has Wiggins at the 4 in which case Nash would be on him. I also wouldn't be shocked to see OSU switch defenses a lot to try an confuse KU.

Yonatan Negash 9 years 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.

Jonathan Allison 9 years ago

Brown is going to get looks, just like he did last year when we played them at OSU when Releford was blanketing him. Wiggins, like Releford will have to try to prevent him from getting the ball in a position to shoot.

The key for Selden on Smart will be to play tough inside the arc and hope that he doesn't get his jump shot rolling. We will depend a lot of help defense against Smart, but you can't help off of Brown or Forte. You have to help off of the "bigs".

Nash will be the X-factor, because with ball skills he is a tough match-up for our post players. He has only attempted 4 three pointers this year, but that doesn't mean that he won't shoot it. He has the skill set to step out to the perimeter and shoot it or put it on the deck.

Jonathan Allison 9 years ago

It might be a good idea to put Embiid on the 6'7" Nash, and let Ellis cover Murphy who's more of a typical post or Williams who's more of a guard but with limited offensive tools.

Only problem would be Nash getting Embiid into foul trouble.

Titus Canby 9 years 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.

Tom Longhofer 9 years ago

I agree with you and I think it's silly to make a big deal over the flip. From time to time, there are real motivating factors that up the emotional ante, but if you try to find "bulletin board" material for every game, it gets pretty watered down.

Eliott Reeder 9 years ago

You know, I felt the same way as Titus above, that really it is a compliment for the opposition to be so incredibly enthused about winning at Allen. However, what REALLY annoyed me was how (7 games later) the ISU fans and media acted like EJ was some kind of super-villain for dunking the ball during overtime WITH TIME LEFT ON THE CLOCK at the end of that game in celebration of a hard-fought win and the game of his life. Was there a KU alumnus (like Mr. Weatherwax) running on the court to try and confront Travis Ford after the back-flip? No. Was the media having a field day calling Smart classless and exhibiting poor sportsmanship? No. But when a KU player does something celebratory at an opposing venue he gets called racial epithets on twitter, has things thrown at him from the student section, and the media questions whether or not his actions were appropriate. BS double-standards. Just annoyed the hell out of me. Okay, rant over... ;)

Bryce Landon 9 years ago

No, it shows disrespect. Kinda like when that thug from Iowa State spiked the ball on our court in 2000.

Generally, I'm fine with OSU; but people like Marcus Smart, Doug Gottlieb and T. Boone Pickens make it hard for me to respect them.

Erich Hartmann 9 years ago

100% agree with Eliott Reeder. IowaSt fans are the worst. Big crybabys. Got NO problem with calm, cool Hoiberg, or his players & interesting playstyle. Hate their fans. Hilton Schmilton...

Robert Brock 9 years 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.

Tommy Kueser 9 years 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.

Tony Bandle 9 years 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.

Chris Shaw 9 years ago

5) OSU losing Cobbins for the season has hurt OSU in the post. Murphy has played pretty well in Cobbins absence, but Murphy is no Cobbins defensively and Jo Jo should have a field day considering Murphy is 0-0 from 3 point land this season.

Bruce Beckum 9 years ago

Oakville, I enjoy your oddities. I also wonder where you get your icon photos.

Tony Bandle 9 years ago

Thanks..if you mean my avatar, that is JAY-REX. I find him in the sand in Destin Florida and since the dinosaur is the ancestor for the bird, I painted him to match the Jayhawk. Interestingly enough, every portion of the Jayhawk was represented in some fashion on the T-Rex. I guess they are related.

Chris Shaw 9 years 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.

Bryce Landon 9 years ago

You don't think OSU is a national title contender?

Chris Shaw 9 years ago

There odds decreased slightly when Cobbins went down for the season. Murphy was their backup that is now starting.

Chris Shaw 9 years ago

Maybe, but you also have to take in Loyalty as a factor. He wanted to play with Forte. Nothing wrong with sticking with your buddy and also trying to help a once proud program like OSU get back on the map. That has my respect.

Bryce Landon 9 years ago

The back-flip was offensive to me, but I tell you what: I admire that he decided to come back to college because he wanted redemption for his poor showing in the NCAAs. Back-flip or not, he has his head on straight and has more than his own interests at heart.

Mike Crosbie 9 years ago

Have to agree, Smart is the epitomy of what a college BB player should be...loyalty and leadership are just he acts by walking the walk speaks louder. Got to respect him (while hoping his team loses). Wish we had players like him rather than one and done "think they're prima donnas" who only care about their draft slot. I miss the days gone by watching players developed and grow for four years as they fulfill THEIR part of the scholarship !!

Benz Junque 9 years ago

That's romantic and all but it had nothing to do with loyalty. His shoulder was jacked up at the end of the year and he thought his draft stock would drop if he skipped workouts or worked out with a bum shoulder since scouts were already questioning his sketchy jumper. He has said so himself.

Kye Clark 9 years ago

The only thing wrong with that logic is that he passed up declaring in a relatively weak draft class to declare instead in probably the deepest draft class in at least the last 10 years (assuming he declares following this season and doesn't return for his junior campaign). Best case (for Smart) - he kills it again this year AND shows an improved jumper and he goes where everyone was projecting him last year. Worst case (barring injury of course) - none of the super crop of freshman flop and take a dive in draft stock, Dante Exum from Australia is the first point guard chosen, Smart's shooting statistics bottom out, and he falls outside the top 10. Reality is probably somewhere in the middle, and he falls a couple of spots from where he was projected last year.

Kevin Huffman 9 years ago

I just don't like the offensive fouls HE gets away with...yet HE flops at the other end.

Alex Resnik 9 years 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 9 years ago

I'm not seeing those matchups:

I am seeing Selden start on Smart and both Wiggins and Selden trading off on and on with that responsibility

Brown-I see Wiggins starting on Brown much the way Wiggins played Marcus Foster of K-State

Williams-He's there by process of elimination but I see Tharpe on Williams and when Forte is in the game...Tharpe has that responsibility.

Nash: I see Ellis and Traylor getting bulk of the minutes against Nash. Nash has only put up 4 3 point attempts all season and is 0-4. I think Ellis gets most of the minutes as long as he stays out of foul trouble against Nash.

Murphy: Simply because Cobbins is no longer because of an achilles tear...Embiid gets that assignment. Murphy also has shot one 3 point attempt so that is good for Embiid.

Robert Robinson 9 years ago

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

Waylon Cook 9 years ago

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

Bryce Landon 9 years ago

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

Kevin Huffman 9 years ago

I thini we've done VERY poorly wearing red in the past.

Nick Rushton 9 years 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!

Yonatan Negash 9 years 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.

Walter Bridges 9 years ago

Although I can honestly say that I hope you are right, I would like to know what variables you reviewed in coming to your conclusion.

Experience? Brown, Nash and Smart, the big three of OSU have been playing together for two years, Brown and Nash for three years. Easily OSU

Backcourt: Markel Brown is closing in on some impressive statistics and will soon be the first player in program history to amass 100 steals, 100 blocked shots and 250 assists. His 1,340 career points rank 18th all-time at Oklahoma State, and he's on pace to crack the top 10 by season's end. I think Selden will eventually be the better player but not at this moment. Point guard? As much as Tharpe has improved, Smart wins this match up.

Intangibles: I think Kansas might actually have more pressure on them to win at home because of what transpired last year but I also think Kansas will at least be as motivated. This is a big time game for both teams and can play a huge role in winning the Big 12 regular-season championship. Kansas gets a big edge from their home court advantage. Allen Fieldhouse is the toughest court for opponents to get a victory. Overall, Kansas.

Common opponents: OSU beat Colorado on a neutral court but lost to Kansas State on the road. No advantage.

I think we win also, Embiid, Ellis and Wiggins are all going to need to have their A game ready. Ellis may be the single biggest advantage we have. If Tharpe and Selden play big then we could win big. I give us the edge in talent, bench, frontcourt and several thousand crazy fans but to say there is no way for Oklahoma State to win just isn't being realistic.

Erich Hartmann 9 years 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!

Walter Bridges 9 years ago

Just as long as we don't hear the "overrated" chant today... Unless it is for Smart :-)

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