What if this dive had ended in a serious injury?
Being Kentucky fans under the magnificent reign of John Calipari over Camelot, we’ve grown accustomed to the benefits and the pitfalls of the one-and-done rule. We’ve seen insanely talented teams all head off for greener ($$$) pastures and we’ve seen young talent struggle to live up to pro-expectations. But the most important thing we’ve witnessed is 15 (+2 including Archie and Nerlens) kids reaching their dreams via Lexington. And that’s a great thing to see.
Now, we’ve got the news that sure-fire top 5 pick Marcus Smart will return to Ok. State for his sophomore season and forego the NBA. While Travis Ford and (apparently) Jabari Parker couldn’t agree with the decision more, I must question it. I am all for kids loving the college experience, despite its amateurism, and wanting to stay. But at what point does saying no to the NBA become a gamble with guaranteed money? I think turned down a top 5 pick is akin to playing blackjack and hitting on a ‘soft 20’ when the dealing is showing any number 2 through 9.
You would think that any player this season had two very strong reasons to turn pro if they were a sure-fire top pick: (1) next year’s draft with Wiggins, Randle, and company is going to be so deep and (2) Nerlens Noel’s injury. Throw in the fall of Cody Zeller from lottery pick to question mark and the raised expectations for Smart next season, and it seems that overstaying your welcome in the NCAA after this season is a risky move. I’ll spare you but for more, Alex Kennedy makes a good argument for turning pro if you are a top prospect.
I’d be overjoyed if top picks stayed at UK for longer than a year, but I’d simultaneously fear for their future earnings every time someone leapt in the air. I applaud Marcus Smart for wanting to win a title and not being all about the money, but I am a gambler at heart too.
What do you think: foolish or noble move by Smart to stay?