The Smart Decision, Literally
Oklahoma State freshman guard and Big 12 Player of the Year Marcus Smart announced on Wednesday that he will not enter the NBA draft and will return for his sophomore season with to a Cowboys team that will be loaded with professional prospects next season. Smart led the Cowboys by averaging 15.4 points and 4.2 assists last season.
His decision did not come without great criticism. Most believe that he absolutely made the wrong decision by passing on the NBA and relinquishing millions of dollars that he would make next year playing for an NBA team. In addition, most believe that his current draft position (speculated to be a top 3 draft pick) would be put in jeopardy if he came back next year and played in a college league that will be riddled with much more talent. This in turn would cost him further millions.
However, there is one thing that people are missing: college is a one-time experience. Being a kid, playing a game that you love, accomplishing goals at a great institution like Oklahoma State, and enjoying your experience with close friends is priceless. You cannot put a pricetag on experience, and the college experience is truly one that can be only had once in your life
Moreover, if Smart would enter the NBA draft, he’d leave behind his closest and best friend, OSU freshman guard Phil Forte. Smart and Forte grew up together and have been best friends since the 3rd grade. They won two high school state titles together and decided to attend college together. Smart perhaps wants to stay and experience college with Phil, and help him achieve some of his basketball goals and spend time playing alongside him 1 more time. This is not by any means a poor choice. In fact, I think it is the right choice.
Here are some of Smart’s remarks during a press conference when he announced his decision on Wednesday:“It was a hard decision to make. I love you guys. I’m a Cowboy at heart. So it looks like I’m coming back for my sophomore year. There’s a lot of speculation going. I’ve been bashed and criticized that I probably made a mistake of coming back here, the NBA will be there, I should have took it, and this year’s draft class is much weaker than next year’s. “But I think I made the right decision. All that was telling me, from those people that said that, is they don’t have confidence in my ability and my game to compete with those players next year. You guys have given me that confidence to do that, so I chose to stay here. I’m aware of how much money I am giving up.”
If I were to tell you that you could pay 5 million dollars to be able to spend time with a cousin or close friend that passed away one last time, what would you say? What I am saying is, you can’t put a price tag on time spent with those that are close to you. You can put a price on precious memories, times spent with close family members and friends, the college experience, and the experience of being a kid. Once its over, its over. Time to be a man in the business that is the NBA. He made the perfect decision to stay.
Folks need to realize that money ain’t everything, and money doesn’t necessarily equal happiness. Life is about experience, time spent with loved ones, family and friends. It’s about doing what makes you happy, not about making money. Oddly, Smart gets this at 19 years old. It will take some of us a lifetime to understand this.