Marcus Smart was just a star for Oklahoma State basketball before Feb. 8. Yet after Smart's final seconds in the Cowboys upset loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, he may become everything that's wrong with college basketball. The only thing keeping Smart from being the next Ron Artest right now is that no one knows what a Texas Tech fan said to make him shove him.
The incident occurred in the final seconds of the Cowboys' 65-61 loss to the Red Raiders. In fact, it happened with the Cowboys down by 63-61 and trying to go for the tie. Yet a turnover led to Texas Tech's Jaye Crockett racing down the court for a dunk, but Smart blocked him from behind to cause a foul and then ran into the front row of the crowd.
A man in the crowd identified as Jeff Orr, according to Yahoo Sports, then said something that caused Smart to shove the fan. He immediately received a technical foul, although there was much postgame debate over why he wasn't ejected. Now there is a debate over what Orr could have said to set Smart off, but no details have been revealed.
Even if Orr said the most offensive things possible, Smart will still face some kind of discipline for pushing him -- whether it is a reprimand, a suspension or being kicked off the team. It would be a gigantic fall from grace for a player that was projected as a top pick in this summer's NBA draft. The fact that Smart didn't leave school after his freshman season made Oklahoma State one of the most feared teams in the country going into this year.
Yet in addition to Smart's meltdown, the Cowboys have to deal with a four-game losing streak, a mere 16-7 record and a 4-6 Big 12 mark right now. Oklahoma State is already far from a national title contender, but if it has to dismiss Smart for a lengthy period of time, it could become lucky to stay on the bubble.
Smart's fate will have to be decided in the next day or two. Presumably, Orr's words will have to be uncovered as well, to put the proper context of this incident into light. At this point, the chance that he was truly nasty may be the only chance at mercy that Smart has.