Breaking down the Marcus Smart vs Ben McLemore matchup
By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Two lottery picks. Two of the leading candidates for Big 12 Player of the year. Two rare talents. One building.
Marcus Smart against Ben McLemore on Saturday in Lawrence.
“Two of the best freshman in the country,” Travis Ford said. “That’s not even an argument. Two of the top five freshman in the country.”
Problem is, at least to start, we likely won’t see them guard each other.
McLemore is a silky smooth two-guard with an NBA-ready game, averaging 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds for one of the deepest teams in the nation. He’s shooting 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from three and 87 percent from the line. Ridiculous efficiency from a mature freshman.
Smart is a combo guard forced to play the point for OSU. And he’s turned into the ideal floor general, with a rare basketball IQ and the ability to sense the perfect moment to score, rebound, create or take over with his bruising perimeter defense. His stat-line averages is staple of versatility: 13.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.8 steals, 0.8 blocks.
“I don’t think that’s the starting matchup,” Ford said. “I don’t think he’ll start on Marcus and I know Marcus isn’t going to start on him.”
C’mon, Travis. You’re not going to give us the showdown we all crave? The talented toe-to-toe dual that’ll have a batch of NBA scouts convening in the center of the country?
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