It’s safe to say that Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart is sliding downhill faster than his team, Oklahoma State, that is mired in a four-game losing streak.
On Jan. 25, the usually even-keeled Smart kicked a chair out of frustration from his less than stellar four-point performance against West Virginia.
Smart later took to Twitter and apologized for his outrage and promised it wouldn’t happen again.
Turns out that was a pie crust promise.
With 6.2 seconds left in the game and Texas Tech up by two, Smart fouled Tech senior forward Jaye Crockett hard on a dunk and then hit the deck.
While he wasn’t down for a long time, it was long enough for him to hear something, spring from the ground and into the stands.
Smart confronted a fan, Jeff Orr, and shoved him hard enough for Orr to take a step back before Smart’s teammates pulled him back toward the team bench.
In that instant, Smart chose fight over flight and as a result, his reputation became tarnished.
Even though Orr provoked him, there’s no excuse.
Players must stay inside the lines because going into the stands to confront a fan is never OK.
Smart needed to control his temper — he’s the preseason Big 12 Player of the year for crying out loud.
As a Division-I athlete, Smart is held to a higher standard, especially since he’s one of the best in college basketball this year.
Why is the sixth man emphasized so much in college hoops?
Because it provides a team with a deafening home court advantage.
As an athlete, Smart has to be aware that in all that noise are nasty comments, and he must choose to walk away.
Thankfully, this didn’t turn into something much worse.
Instead of heading to the locker room before the game was over, Smart sat and simmered on the bench for the remaining seconds of the game.
Then, as Texas Tech fans rushed the court to celebrate the Red Raider upset, an angry Smart was surrounded on the floor by Tech fans and was helped to the locker room by teammates and coaches.
While the three-game suspension for Smart says what is and is not acceptable from players, a suspension for Orr sets the standard for fans.
Fans do not pay money so they can say whatever they want and act however they want toward the opposing team.
Some of the vile things screamed at games would automatically get you fired in the workplace.
While Smart faced the impending doom of yet another loss on the ground under the Texas Tech basket, Orr decided to call Smart, as Orr said in Texas Tech’s statement, a “piece of crap.”
In that moment, Orr had more control over the Oklahoma State star player than Texas Tech, the referees and even Smart’s head coach Travis Ford.
He sent Smart over the edge, which resulted in a technical foul and the winning margin for Tech.
Meanwhile, Orr voluntarily agreed not to go to any Texas Tech basketball games, home or away, for the remainder of the season.
This is a good move by Texas Tech and Orr as he would be more of a distraction than a supporter to the Red Raiders.
As for Smart, who is seen as a sure NBA draft pick, his future is in his hands ... or his head.