Dec 11, 2012, 5:00 PM EST
If you missed it, there interwebs has played host to an entertaining discussion about Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart over the last day or two.
It started when John Gasaway ranked the freshmen and slotted Smart at 14th, which, according to Mike DeCourcy, is borderline certifiable, as he wrote, “People, Marcus Smart has been the best college player in the nation to this point”. Gasaway fired back, saying, essentially, that he had Smart that low for two reasons: 1) he’s not shooting the ball well for a player whose role is that important, and 2) he can and will play better before the season is out.
Frankly, I don’t think either of them are right as of right now.
I understand Gasaway’s point, but calling Smart the 14th best freshman in the country right now is ludicrous. I’d have Smart somewhere in the top three, along with Anthony Bennett of UNLV and Jordan Adams of UCLA. If you want to slide him down to sixth — behind Nik Stauskas, Ben McLemore and Semaj Christon — because you hate the fact that he’s shooting 45.3% from two and 20.6% from beyond the arc while shooting 23.9% of the possessions that he’s on the floor — or because he’s averaging 3.4 turnovers — than I’ll disagree with you, but at least I’ll understand where you’re coming from.
But you can’t have Smart as the 14th best freshmen in the country, just like you can’t call Smart the best college basketball player in the country to this point in the season.
Because that award belongs to Mason Plumlee, and it’s really not close.
Plumlee has finally turned all of his potential into production, averaging 19.2 points, 11.4 boards and 1.7 blocks while shooting 61.1% from the floor and 73.1% from the free throw line. He’s become Duke’s anchor on both ends of the floor, turning them into a team that lost to a No. 15 seed in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA tournament into one of the two best teams in the country. And Plumlee has posted these numbers while Duke has beaten Kentucky, Minnesota, VCU, Louisville, Ohio State and Temple.
Smart has changed the culture of that Oklahoma State team. He’s taken over a leadership role and gotten the Pokes through a pair of season-ending injuries. It’s not a coincidence that Le’Bryan Nash is starting to play up to his potential this season or that Oklahoma State is tougher on the defensive end of the floor. But Smart has led Oklahoma State to wins over Akron, Tennessee, NC State and South Florida and a loss at Virginia Tech.
Speaking of Virginia Tech, I also think I would rank Erick Green — the point guard that went for 28 points in the Hokie’s win over Smart’s squad — over him. Green is averaging 24.8 points and 5.0 assists while turning the ball over just 1.8 times per game while leading Tech to an 8-1 start that, quite literally, no one saw coming. Michael Carter-Williams, Doug McDermott, Jeff Withey and Trey Burke are all guys that deserve heavy consideration for the title “best player in college basketball this season”.
Smart’s been great.
No one is saying otherwise.
He’s an all-american as of now.
But I don’t think he’s the Player of the Year after the first month of the season.
Dec 29, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
It is not too early to start talking about the importance of non-conference wins.
Dec 29, 2014, 6:57 AM EST
Who moved into the Top 10 this week and who dropped out?
Dec 29, 2014, 12:12 AM EST
Some solid afternoon victories for St. John’s, Arizona State and Syracuse.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:15 PM EST
Despite trailing by as many as 16 points in the second half, Stony Brook managed to pick up its first-ever win over a ranked opponent.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:44 PM EST
Before deciding to attend Stanford, Schuyler Rimmer verbally committed to attend Florida in August 2012.
Dec 28, 2014, 8:34 PM EST
Who doesn’t love game-winners?
Dec 28, 2014, 6:33 PM EST
Garrett Nevels is averaging 12.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the 10-4 Rainbow Warriors.
Dec 28, 2014, 5:48 PM EST
Eight days after winning at then-No. 25 Michigan State, Texas Southern scored six points in the final 3.8 seconds to stun Kansas State in Manhattan.
Dec 28, 2014, 2:35 PM EST
Christian Wood is one of the most improved sophomores in the country this season. This was just nasty.
Dec 28, 2014, 12:54 PM EST
Fresno State hopes to get word on a productive point guard soon.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:11 AM EST
There’s a reason Kentucky will be expected to go 31-0 this season.
Michigan basketball ticket prices surge in anticipation of potential Jim Harbaugh head coaching announcement
Dec 28, 2014, 10:25 AM EST
Tickets for the Michigan and Illinois game on Tuesday have skyrocketed as Wolverine fans hope for an introduction to potential new football head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:06 AM EST
Doctors are unsure if the two incidents are related.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
Some decent games during an otherwise slow weekend.
Dec 27, 2014, 11:40 PM EST
There’s one less undefeated in college basketball as the Wildcats won at Louisville.
Dec 27, 2014, 9:25 PM EST
Wiltjer finished the game with 24 points and Pangos scored 18 of his 21 in the second half Saturday evening in Provo.
Dec 27, 2014, 8:41 PM EST
Tokoto made just one field goal in UNC’s 89-58 win over UAB. Unfortunately for UAB’s WIlliam Lee, he got in the way.
Dec 27, 2014, 6:01 PM EST
Semi Ojeleye averaged 2.0 points and 1.3 rebounds per game during his time at Duke.
Dec 27, 2014, 5:31 PM EST
Louisville’s starting perimeter (Rozier, Jones and Blackshear) combined to shoot 10-for-42 in their loss to No. 1 Kentucky.
Dec 27, 2014, 4:44 PM EST
But just because he’s their best point guard doesn’t mean he’s going to be their starter.
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