Claremore Daily Progress

December 16, 2012

OSU's Smart looks to improve on the court

CNHI News Services

STILLWATER — The problem with trying to make up for a mistake, is it can lead to even more mistakes.

That’s the lesson Oklahoma State University freshman phenom Marcus Smart is trying to learn early in his rookie campaign in Stillwater.

His last time out on the court, the freshman from Flower Mound, Texas, played the fewest minutes of his young career due to foul trouble - picking up his fourth foul early in the second half and sitting on the bench for nearly 15 minutes.

“We’ve got to keep him out of foul trouble. A lot of his fouls come off of when he makes a mistake, he tries to make up for it,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “We’ve got to get him to the point now where he makes a little better decisions at times.”

A week after the struggles against Missouri State, Smart said he sees what Ford is talking about. Now he just needs to put it in motion when OSU returns to action at 3 p.m. Sunday against Central Arkansas.

“Throughout my whole career, I’ve heard that I probably try a little too hard to try to make up for a mistake that I’ve committed,” Smart said. “And I’ll compound the issue of a mistake with another mistake by fouling. It’s just something I’ve got pay more attention to.”

Ford said he has no worries about how his freshman point guard will respond from a game in which Smart had season lows in minutes played and points scored, while also recording zero assists for the first time in collegiate career.

“I don’t ever worry about Marcus when it comes to responding (from adversity),” the OSU coach said. “I’ve never been around a player that responds better to a turnover, or a bad defensive play. He always responds.

“He didn’t play a great game, so I fully expect him to respond like he does on everything in practice. And you really don’t have to tell him, because he responds on his own.”

Ford is using this time as a teaching tool for the young point guard, maybe in an unconventional - though possibly helpful - way.

“In practice they’ve been calling fouls that probably wouldn’t normally be a foul, but have been calling it just to get me back to reality,” Smart said. “A referee’s going to call fouls that may not be a foul, so you’ve just got to watch it. It’s just challenging me to stay out of foul trouble.”