By John Helsley
follow on Twitter @jjhelsley
The honors continue to roll in for Oklahoma State basketball recruit Marcus Smart.
The latest – first team All-USA by USA Today and an invitation to the 2012 Men’s U18 National Team Training Camp– are big ones.
Smart, who led Flower Mound Marcus High Schoolto a second straight Texas 5A state championship in March, signed with the Cowboys in November. Already he’s being touted as a difference maker for a rebound from a losing season.
Outsiders apparently agree.
The USA Today honor comes after Smart has already been recognized as a McDonald’s All-American, an ESPNHS All-American and the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year, among other awards and recognitions.
Joining Smart on the USA Today squad is Kentucky commitment Nerlens Noel of New Hampshire, the Player of the Year; two UCLA-bound standouts in Kyle Anderson of New Jersey and Shabazz Muhammad of Las Vegas; and high school junior Jabari Parker of Chicago.
USA Today has been handing out its honors annually since 1983. The latest teams (first, second and third) are available in Thursday’s paper and online at http://www.highschoolsports.net/
At the site, there are Q&As with each of the players. One interesting outtake from the one with Smart, under “Aha! Moment”:
When I was in eighth grade, we would always play sophomores on my AAU team and I was dominating, though I was just 6-1, getting boards over bigger kids. That was the time I realized I had potential to play college basketball.
The National team training camp will take place June 5-12 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Once the team has been narrowed down to the official 12-member squad by the USA Men’s Junior National Team Committee, the team will continue to train at the USOTC until the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be played June 16-20 in Sao Sebastiao do Paraiso, Brazil.
Current Cowboy Le’Bryan Nash was selected to the 2010 Men’s U18 National team which won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship held in San Antonio, Texas.