By Jason Elmquist
KANSAS CITY, Mo. —
The awards continue to pile up for Oklahoma State freshman point guard Marcus Smart.
On Wednesday the Flower Mound, Texas, native was named the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Trophy.
“It feels like I’m dreaming because this is every kid’s dream to come into your first year of college basketball and achieve the type of things that I’ve achieved,” Smart said following OSU’s practice in preparation for the Big 12 Conference Championship at the Sprint Center. “It’s an incredible feeling. I’m blessed to be able to achieve these awards.”
The award is just the latest in a long list of honors Smart has received this week. He was named the Big 12 Freshman and Player of the Year by both the conference coaches and voting media, national freshman of the year by Sporting News, a first-team All-American by the same publication and was named a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award for college basketball’s top point guard. Smart is also a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year Award, the John R. Wooden Player of the Year Award and the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Trophy.
Smart gave some credit to his growth at the point to his head coach. OSU coach Travis Ford had success playing point guard at the college level, spending two years at Missouri and two years at Kentucky.
During Wednesday’s practice, Ford even laced it up and ran the offense for bit as Oklahoma State’s starters played on defense.
“It’s not the first time coach has gotten out there and ran the point,” Smart said. “He always talks about ‘back in his day’ and stuff like that. Him being one of my mentors, him being a point guard himself, I’ve learned a lot with how to control the tempo of the game and when or when not to force things.”
Seeing the former Final Four point guard on the floor with this year’s Big 12 Player of the Year and national Freshman of the Year brought a question: Who would have gotten the better of the other if Smart matched up with Ford in his playing days?
“I’m just glad I didn’t have to,” Ford conceded. “It wouldn’t have been a very good matchup — for him.”
Smart added, “I think I would have matched up pretty good against him. I could use my size and length. He might be a little quicker than me, but I’m taller and stronger. So I would make him take tough shots over me.”
While the coach and Smart based it on ability, sophomore Le’Bryan Nash wasn’t so quick to decide who would have been able to deliver a victory for his team.
“That’s a good question. I’d take Marcus over any point guard with the way he’s playing right now, but I know coach Ford was a good player back in his day — had a great shot and everything,” Nash said. “He led a team to a Final Four, so that’s a big thing. So that’d be a toss up right now.”
If his knack for big shots is any indicator, Smart may have the upper hand. Having already made several game-winning buckets this season, and a halftime buzzerbeater against Iowa State, Smart showed off his big-shot ability again on Wednesday — knocking down two attempts from midcourt during practice.
“Yea (I was feeling it today). I do it before and after every practice,” Smart said.
The Wayman Tisdale Trophy will be awarded to Smart at a banquet in Oklahoma City on April 15 — the same banquet that will award the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year trophy and the Henry Iba Coach of the Year honor.