STILLWATER — With his decision to return to Oklahoma State, and forego guaranteed NBA riches, Marcus Smart knew there would be criticism.
And there is, with analysts locally and nationally sounding off that Smart made a bad choice.
“My mom and dad, my family, was happy for me,” Smart said. “It was ultimately what I wanted to do. They told me, ‘You're definitely going to have some people who disagree with you. Be ready for that. Are you ready for that type of negative energy coming your way?'
“But they said it was my decision and if it's what I want to do, do it. And don't let anybody change my mind.”
Critics weighed in on Twitter Tuesday night, as word of Smart's decision to return spread.
And when he woke up Wednesday morning, Smart heard his return being debated on ESPN's First Take.
“First thing this morning I hear Skip Bayless say I had to go,” Smart said. “In my mind I'm like, ‘No disrespect, but why?' He says it's because the draft class is weaker this year than next year. Well, that's telling me, from a competitor standpoint, you have no respect for my game and my ability to compete with those guys.
“You tell a competitor that, it just fuels his energy to go out there and prove him wrong. It got me fired up. I wanted to go out there and start working out right then. And it definitely fueled my energy to come back here and start preparing for next year and getting better.”