IRVING, Texas — Bob Huggins mused this week that Marcus Smart could have been the No. 1 overall pick in last June’s NBA draft, so it’s no surprise that Big 12 coaches named the Oklahoma State point guard as their preseason player of the year.
Smart was positioned as a one-and-done player after averaging 15.4 points and setting a freshman conference-record with 99 steals. His decision to return to school instantly made Oklahoma State a contender for the Big 12 title after falling a game short of co-champs Kansas and Kansas State last season. Smart also might have been motivated to stay after his five-turnover performance in the Cowboys’ 68-55 loss to Oregon in the NCAA tournament opener.
“I think Marcus Smart is one of the best guards I’ve ever coached against since Jason Kidd,” said Huggins.
Though West Virginia did not place a player on the preseason all-league team—which grew to six members because of a voting tie–sophomore guard Eron Harris was among the six honorable mentions.