Seth Davis of Campus Insiders (@campusinsiders) conducted a one-on-one interview with former Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart at the NBA pre-draft combine on Thursday in Chicago.
Smart, who averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game in his sophomore season at OSU, is widely projected as top 10 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft on June 26.
Q: We know that you had the option to come out last year. You put it off to go back to school for another year. Now you’re here and this process is officially starting. Is really starting to sink in that you’re officially part of the basketball business?
Smart: To be honest, no. It feels like I’m still dreaming. This is like a dream come true. I thank God every day for this opportunity. I’m out here living my dream – being able to have the opportunity to live my dream. Reality hasn’t set in quite yet.
From what you’ve heard from guys who’ve been in the league – and I know you’re in touch with a lot of these folks – what do you think is going to be the hardest part about your transition from college to the NBA?
Smart: Being a rookie. All the stuff you’ve got to go through as a rookie. You’ve got to learn new things, you’ve got to learn the new lingo and everything. That’s that rookie process.
You know your school fight song? Is that part of it – you’ve got to sing your school fight song for everybody?
Smart: I hope not. I can’t remember my whole school fight song. I can remember some of it but I don’t remember the whole thing.
A lot of projected first-round picks – certainly all of the lottery picks – have basically decided not to participate in basketball activities this weekend, and you’re one of them. Why not play? I would think a guy like you: you’re a competitor, you want to get out there and show what you can do. Why decline to participate in the basketball part of the combine?
Smart: My agent made that decision for me. He felt it was the best thing for me, I guess to save me for when I start doing these team workouts … just making sure I was healthy and 100 percent.
I know you’re gonna go through the interview process with a lot of different NBA teams. What’s one thing you’re going to try to convey to those guys who are interviewing you for potentially investing millions of dollars? What are you going to try to communicate to them?
Smart: My character and who I am as a person … that they can trust me with their investment; they’re making an investment … let them know that it’s a safe investment with me.