“I had a great season here at Oklahoma State,” Smart said. “It’s weird, because I didn’t go to the NBA Draft last year, I chose to come back – which I do not regret at all. A lot of people say I made the wrong decision. But who are they to tell me what I should have done? It’s me, not them.
“I believe I made the right decision. I get to do what I love to do.”
So Smart delayed his NBA entry. And despite critics who have continued to question the decision to return, his pro stock remains strong, with most Draft analysts projecting him as a top-six pick.
He has signed with agent Lee Melchionni of the Wasserman Media Group, which claims Russell Westbrook, Tyreke Evans, Anthony Davis and Derrick Rose, among others. Smart will move to Los Angeles later this week to begin concentrated training in preparation for the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and the June 26 NBA Draft.
“I don’t think anybody is ever fully ready for what’s about to happen,” Smart said. “But am I excited about it? Definitely. I’m ecstatic about it. This is a wonderful opportunity.
“And I’m blessed just to have the opportunity for my name to be mentioned with the NBA Draft. It’s an honor that most kids and most people dream, and never reach those dreams. And for me to have a chance to reach those dreams is just unbelievable.”
Perhaps a blessing in disguise, too?
In a rare development, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, two storied franchises, are both bound for the lottery. The Lakers have an immediate need for a point guard. And the Celtics could, if they ever move Rajon Rondo in a trade, as many have speculated.
For the most part, Smart said he’s not focusing on his potential destinations through mock drafts or other speculation.
“People tell me about and I hear about it, but as for focusing on it, not really,” he said. “That’s the least of my concerns right now. It’s kind of hard not to see it or hear about it with all the technology and social media that’s going on.
“It is interesting to see those two top franchises in the lottery. It’s just weird, because everybody knows the franchises of the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.”
Smart ends his career as a two-time First Team All-Big 12 pick. He was the Big 12 Player of the Year as a freshman. He’ll surely be remembered as one of the most talented players in OSU history. And he said he’ll fondly remember his time in Stillwater.
“I had the time of my life,” Smart said. “It felt good to walk around campus and everyone knows who you are. It’s an amazing feeling. I met some very interesting people here, made some connections with people that I can see myself keeping in contact with for a long time.
“It was just fun. When you’re having fun, you’re not going to have any regrets. Words can’t explain how fun these last two years have been for me.”