Big 12 basketball: Marcus Smart won't back off comments on Andrew Wiggins

by Ryan Aber and John Helsley Published: October 22, 2013

Before Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Day ever arrived, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart livened up the gathering with his take on the hype attached to Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins.

The nation's No. 1 recruit, Wiggins has been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and propped up alongside former KU great Wilt Chamberlain. By today's standard, he's been compared to LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

So in a weekend story in USA Today, Smart made headlines by questioning how so much attention and praise could be heaped on a player who hadn't played a college game yet.

And Tuesday, when hit up again with questions about Wiggins, Smart didn't change his tune.

“I'm just saying, ‘How can you be the best player at something you haven't even played yet?'” Smart said to reporters at the Sprint Center. “I'm not saying he's not. I'm not saying he can't be. I'm saying if it was me, don't just give it to me. At least let me earn it.

“It's good for him. All congratulations. Don't get me wrong, I'm not taking anything from Andrew Wiggins. Nothing like that. Good player. Congratulations to him. Hope he does well in the future. But like I'm saying, he puts his shorts on one leg at a time like me.”

Then, as if fans aren't already anticipating the two showdowns between the Cowboys and Jayhawks, Smart stoked those matchups even more.

“If he's the best player, as people say, then if that's the case, then for me to be the best, I have to play the best, right?” Smart said.

“So if he's the best player, then the fans will get their money's worth when we play Kansas.”

KRUGER: COUSINS ROLE SHIFTS

After playing mostly point guard as a freshman, sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins' role will shift this season.

“Isaiah will play a total different role in moving to the wing,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “Last year, we saddled him a little bit with trying to be a point guard. Little unfair to him, but we just needed some help in that area.

“He worked at it, but (he's) much more comfortable moving to the wing, running the floor, looking to be more of a scorer, attacking off the dribble much more.”

Kruger said Je'lon Hornbeak will play the point guard at times.

Both Hornbeak and fellow sophomore Buddy Hield underwent offseason surgery on their feet, and both have been cleared to return to practice fully.

Hield reinjured his foot just before the team's trip to Belgium and France in August, while Hornbeak was injured on the trip.

JAYHAWKS STILL THE FOCUS

When you win nine straight Big 12 championships, as Kansas has done, there's a reputation that goes with it, like the heavyweight boxing champ who must be knocked out to be dethroned.

OSU was installed as a conference cofavorite in a vote of the league's coaches, yet Cowboys coach Travis Ford said KU sets the standard.



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