Leading up to Marcus Smart’s introduction to the nation on Tuesday, CBSSports.com college basketball columnist Gary Parrish spoke with former OSU guard Doug Gottlieb.
What did Gottlieb have to say? That Smart, a projected lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft and a candidate for National Player of the Year, saved Travis Ford’s job.
You can read the entire Parrish column here, but Parrish likens Smart to another sophomore guard who — compared to this season’s superb freshmen — was flying under the radar this season.
Parrish says Smart and second-year Arizona State guard Jahii Carson, who torched UNLV for 40 points the same night as Smart’s demolition of Memphis, are both coach savers:
When the books are written on the Travis Ford era at Oklahoma State and Herb Sendek era at Arizona State, I think they’ll show that their careers turned and were extended by their abilities to first sign Smart and Carson, then by Smart and Carson’s decisions to stay an extra year.
His point? College coaches’ fates are so often tied to whether or not a top prospect stays, goes or even shows up at all.
In the case of Sendek and Ford, Parrish says they’ve been “very, very fortunate.”