Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart to attend Team USA mini-camp
Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart decided not to enter the NBA Draft this year and will stay at school. But he will be getting a chance to measure himself against some of the NBA’s best.
Smart likely would have been a top lottery pick if he had entered the draft, but instead he will try to get OSU back to the NCAA Tournament next season. Now, he will be the only non-NBA player who will participate in the USA Basketball Men’s National Team Mini-Camp on July 22-25 after accepting an invitation, according to Oklahoma State’s athletics website.
None of the players who were picked in the top 10 of this year’s NBA Draft were invited to the mini-camp, says USA Today.
Smart will get the opportunity to see how he compares to some of the world’s best and get valuable experience with NBA players. This is an opportunity that no other college player will get and few could have dreamed of, and Smart knows it.
“It is a great honor to be invited to participate with the USA Men’s National Team,” Smart said in a statement released by the Cowboys. “The other players at the mini-camp are NBA professionals who I look up to and respect. I’m excited to learn from them and to compete against them.”
28 NBA players will be at the camp, and Smart will be put up against the NBA’s top guards in practices that will likely be run at NBA speeds.
“We’re very excited for Marcus,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said via Yahoo! Sports. “It’s an incredible honor to be the lone college player to be selected. It’s a great honor for him and our program. He continues to represent us in a first-class manner, both on and off the court.”
Smart averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game as well as getting 99 steals last year. He led Team USA to a 9-0 record and the championship in the FIBA U19 World Championships and averaged 9.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.4 steals, and 2.2 assists during the tournament.
He is already expected to be a top draft pick next season, and working with Team USA will likely strengthen his maturity and overall skills thereby raising his draft profile.