Friday, January 17, 2014


Column: Smart’s remarks likely to backfire


When athletes and coaches speak, they are ever mindful that opponents listen, ready to twist every syllable to their advantage. That leaves the rest of us trying to interpret the speakers’ true feelings.

Thursday’s news conference inside Allen Fieldhouse, more so even than usual, required activating the truth radar, thanks to Marcus Smart’s backflip on James Naismith Court last season and his preseason remarks to USA Today, which hinted he thought Andrew Wiggins was overhyped.

Bothered by the backflip, fellas?

“What bothered me was that we played like crap, not someone else doing a backflip,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “If we’d have played better, it never would have happened. Things like that don’t bother me.”

And the radar says: true.

“We had a chance to win that game, and we didn’t do it,” Self said. “And he did do a backflip, and I watched it on tape. I thought it was beautiful form. I thought he tucked just at the right time and got full extension. I thought it was very impressive.”

Again, credible statement. I was sitting right in front of Smart when he did it, and I had to pinch my chins to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. It was a remarkable display of athleticism.

Wayne Selden didn’t flip-flop on the backflip question because doing so would require taking a stance. Instead, he said, “No comment.”

And the radar says: no comment.

Wiggins: “I didn’t think anything of it.”

Has the 6-foot-8 Wiggins ever tried one?

“I can’t do it,” he said.

Again, probably true and true.

Now for the juicier stuff, Smart’s comments about Wiggins.

“They are saying he is the best college player there is and he has not even played a game yet,” Smart told USA Today. “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.”

Smart went on to say the SI cover and the rest of the hype “puts a lot of pressure on him.”

Wiggins said he read Smart’s remarks at the time.

“Someone’s opinion,” Wiggins said. “Doesn’t mean nothing.”

Clever, his intentional use of a double-negative. If something doesn’t mean “nothing,” that means it means “something.” So the radar says he misled without lying.

I once knew of a guy who was the master of the intentional mislead/non-lie. He once said he tried marijuana back in his college days, but never inhaled and conveniently left out that he loved him some pot brownies. (Can’t you just imagine this guy staring at a fish tank: “Why do they call them goldfish, cuz like, they’re orange, man? They should call them orangefish. Right? What were we just talking about again?”)

Anyway, back to Wiggins.

Will he use Smart’s remarks as motivation?

“Uh, I wouldn’t really say so,” Wiggins said. “When someone says something, and I don’t really care for the person, it doesn’t influence me or anything like that. It doesn’t really matter what he says, only if it’s like my parents, my family, my friends.”

False. He’ll use it to motivate him.

Hours before the Kansas State game, someone from one of the national sports networks said of K-State’s Marcus Foster, “He might be the best freshman playing in this game.” Wiggins didn’t let Foster breathe all afternoon.

So, I asked Wiggins, when he scored 54 points in a high school game right after a national publication was critical of him, was that just a coincidence?

“Probably,” he said, smiling a swampland salesman’s smile.

A coincidence, yeah, that’s the ticket. It was just a coincidence.


Steve Zimmerman 8 years, 8 months ago

LOL!! This article is a good spark for Wiggins - another version of "overrated" chant in his ears. Bring it on, Smart-mouth!

Rodney Crain 8 years, 8 months ago

Smart will be out to prove a point too. I wonder if the students will have a surprise for him? This is going to be fun to watch!

Dirk Medema 8 years, 8 months ago

Wiggins said. “When someone says something, and I don’t really care for the person, it doesn’t influence me or anything like that."

Catch the slip? So how do you really feel. Andrew seems to have taken D on the best opposing player as his stamp on the game. The points will come - R, blocks (ANNIHILATED THE ISU GUY AT THE END), ... now that's stealth fun.

Vincent Patterson 8 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, I liked that too. Why would he not really care for Smart? Because he was running his mouth about him. Period. This should be fun to watch!

Joe Ross 8 years, 8 months ago

Okay. I'm going to put on my Captain Obvious uniform for the next thirty seconds.

  1. The back flip and the Wiggins comment are bulletin-board material that will motivate the Jayhawks.

  2. This is still Oklahoma State. Marcus Smart is still a lethal player. The Cowboys are VERY capable of beating Kansas in AFH again, bulletin board material and all.

  3. None of these sideshows mean as much on Saturday as execution on the court.

Walter Bridges 8 years, 8 months ago

But these 'sideshows' may focus intensity and execution. They certainly can be used for motivational purposes.

Walter Bridges 8 years, 8 months ago

No, you have apparently missed my point. I said motivation focuses intensity and execution. You seem to have placed motivation into some neat little cubbyhole separate from other parts of the game. This is not some sideshow, if it was, then why have so many articles and comments focused on Smarts remarks?

Motivation affects execution

Michael Pannacciulli 8 years, 8 months ago

Just play the damn game and win. Play under control...execute. OSU will frustrate us on both ends of the court but we need to find our rhythm and confidence early and gut it out. Not gonna be easy but we are playing nice ball now. We can get this...and enough about the backflip. Just win baby!

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 8 months ago

No doubt Marcus Smart will be fired up for this game. He will have everyone else on the Okie team running hot. Kansas is coming together. It will be an electric atmosphere. Hope we blow them out. Can't wait for this great game.

Robert Brock 8 years, 8 months ago

When a shot goes up, somebody needs to put a body on Smart and keep him off the boards.

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 8 months ago

Perry and JoJo, OSU has nobody capable of defending you with Cobbins out. It's up to you two to combine for about 40 and 25 and or play soft and let OSU hang around and give them a chance to do something only 2 teams have done in the last 25 years.

Don Johnson 8 years, 8 months ago

If the hawks need bulletin board material to get up for this game, they should just get out of sports. I have a feeling both teams will be sky high for this one. Execution and the strategy of match ups should make the difference.

Benz Junque 8 years, 8 months ago

They don't NEED it but they will certainly use it to ADD to their already heightened determination.

Benz Junque 8 years, 8 months ago

We REALLY need Embiid and Ellis to cominate the post and the glass in this game. We have to get as many high percentage shots to drop as possible. None of this mamsy-pamsy layup crap, either. Get the ball and go fast.

If OSU is doubling in the post like ISu was, Ku bigs have got to continue to move fast. Get rid of the ballto an open shooter or make a move away from the double as fast as possible. I really think that against SDSU that hesitation with the ball as the double was coming cost KU the game. The bigs waited too long and were stuck trying to find a bail out pass that stopped the flow of movement of the ball. This allowed SDSU to rotate theuir defense to shooters that, had the ball been moved faster, would have been wide open.

They obviously keyed on this in practice after the SDSU game and were noticably better agaist doubles vs. both OU and ISU. they have got to keep this pace up and be assertive in the post.

Defensively, we just have to play with a ton of energy and communicate as well as possible. Sometimes I think the crazy loud atmosphere of the home crowd HURTS Kansas when they are on defense because they cannot communicate well and they lose track of guys. i would guess that SDSU was a much more efficient offense when the crowd was loud than when it was quieter. Strange, but that's what my gut says.

It will be a fascinating game Saturday. I just know that every member of the crowd will be giving all they have to make a win as hard as possible for OSU. It's gonna be a crazy one.

Yonatan Negash 8 years, 8 months ago

Kansas wins this game by at least 5 points.

I just can't see how Kansas can lose.

Joe Ross 8 years, 8 months ago

Tell that to the NCAA so we can all save ourselves the time, and just chalk up a win for the good guys. Hmmm...on second thought, that probably won't happen. Why? Because if conclusions were foregone they wouldn't bother playing the games. And let's be clear, this is not a David vs. Goliath scenario. These teams are both really good and capable of beating each other (and either outcome--a Kansas or OSU win--wouldn't be a surprise). And lastly, your 5-point spread doesn't exactly argue the case for a decisive Kansas victory. Five points is really close!

Yonatan Negash 8 years, 8 months ago

Key word is by at least 5 points. Personally, I think it'll be 8+.

Let's see Kansas has 4 may be 5 future NBA players on the team.

Oklahoma State has 1 (Marcus Smart).

No, the talent level is not the same, neither are the teams.

Joe Ross 8 years, 8 months ago

Don't get me wrong. I hope you're right. If Kansas wins by eight, that will make a strong case for Kansas moving up in the rankings after a week of beating ISU on their home floor and OSU by that margin. But while I certainly think it's POSSIBLE for Kansas to win by that spread, to EXPECT them to puts you out on a limb. I haven't seen Vegas odds but I'd be surprised if it's even your 5 points.

Yonatan Negash 8 years, 8 months ago

Line opened Kansas - 5.5

This is a trap game

This could turn out to be a blowout

Joe Ross 8 years, 8 months ago

Just remember, Kansas was a heavier favorite to win last year in Allen when they lost, based on the Vegas line.. Again, I hope you're right. But to overlook a potent OSU team is NOT, to my way of thinking, a wise perspective at all. Hope we do win big.

John Myers 8 years, 8 months ago

Am I the only one that doesn't take any issue at all with what Smart said? It was 100% accurate at the time.

Walter Bridges 8 years, 8 months ago

I don't have any issue with it but I'm hoping Wiggins and his teammates do.

Benz Junque 8 years, 8 months ago

I don't have issues with the specific comments he made. I love the competitiveness. He just has to understand the impact and be prepared for the backlash. If he is able to Walk the Walk after the Talked the Talk then hats off to him.

Ryan Shelton 8 years, 8 months ago

Nearly every OSU fan down here is confident to the point of being cocky. Today I heard OSU fans not debating whether or not they would win, but whether or not Smart would do another backflip as an encore.

I really hope we bring it tomorrow and silence them!

Mo Mosallaei 8 years, 8 months ago

This is the same team that lost to KSU, who we beat down by 26? I think KU wins by double digits.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 8 months ago

C'mon Marcus....our KU cheerleaders do backflips after each made foul shot. No big deal!!

Now if you come up with a Triple Axel out of a Biellmann Spin followed by a Quadruple Salchow......NOW YOU"RE TALKIN', MY FRIEND!!!

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 8 months ago

Maybe Marcus should just stay on the sidelines with the OSU cheerleaders and do backflips with them.

Bruce Beckum 8 years, 8 months ago

The quadruple salchow is gold Tony! Gold!

Joe Ross 8 years, 8 months ago

By the way, it's not just the comments of one Marcus Smart that took shots at our phenom freshman. His coach was in on the act as well. Comments like that are aimed at getting inside peoples' heads. Not only that, but it's a way that Marcus puts pressure on himself. Now, having said what he did, he has willingly accepted the task of having to back his words up. I wouldn't assume that the comments being made will necessarily benefit one side or the other. The truth is that too much has probably been made of them

Walter Bridges 8 years, 8 months ago

Marcus will willingly accept the task of backing up his comments only if he had thought about and stated precisely with forethought. Maybe both Marcus Smart and his coach were trying to get into Wiggins head. If so, I guess we will see tomorrow if that's the case. Obviously, at this stage of his career, no one knows if that will be a 'smart' strategy, does nothing or has the opposite reaction.

Not too many players or teams come out ahead when making these blackboard comments against the Michael Jordan's, Tom Bradys or Peyton Mannings of the world but Wiggins is still a freshman in college regardless of the potential. I think the smart thing would have been to have just kept quiet.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 8 months ago

Can some get a photo of Wiggins doing the Mckayla Maroney "Not Impressed" face for Mr. Smart?

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 8 months ago

Making my way to Lawrence from Houston. I'm looking for one or two tickets to the game tomorrow. If anyone has a (or two) tickets, please message me.

Chris Leiszler 8 years, 8 months ago

I have 1 ticket! I just sent you a message. Please let me know either way! Thanks!

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 8 months ago

Thanks! Never got the message. Headed into Lawrence to drop drop my student son off at AFH. Email me if you still have one, otherwise I'll look around AFH for and extra. Thanks again.

Benz Junque 8 years, 8 months ago

Glad you can make the game, Suzi, and hats off to whoever hooked her up with a ticket.

I am headed down from Omaha in about an hour. Go Jayhawks!!!

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