A year ago, Michigan’s Trey Burke faced a similar scenario and elected to stay. Monday night, he was in the room with Smart, picking up the Oscar Robertson Award recognizing the National Player of the Year after a run to the Final Four.
Burke said he doesn’t regret his decision.
“I think I was able to come back, mature for another year, grow mentally and physically,” he said. “And I was able to come back and be more of a leader, really.
“Going back to school, the whole college experience, that was something I needed again. I wanted to come back and still be a kid again. I think that’s allowed me to grow up as well.”
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who accepted the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award, said he favors the college baseball rule, which allows a player to go pro out of high school, or commit to three years if he signs with a Division I school.
“I worry about how much pressure’s on the players,” Izzo said. “It’s like they almost don’t get to enjoy the best time of their life. If somebody asked me, ‘Which part of your life would you want to go back to?’ – I’d pick college in a heartbeat. It wouldn’t be high school and it wouldn’t be anything else. It’d be college.”
All that presumably is in the inner discussion for Smart.
An ongoing inner discussion.
“I have made a Pro-Con list,” he said. “And it gets more difficult every time I (amend) the list. I make it at least every day, because my mind changes every day. So it gets harder and harder every day.”
Ultimately, a decision must be made.
April 28 is the NBA deadline for underclassmen to declare to enter the June draft.
So a decision will come … any day?
“It’ll be soon,” Smart said, “but not that soon.”