BOSTON (CBS) – All offseason long, the question on Celtics fans’ minds had been what the team will do with its lottery pick. Last Thursday, the Celtics finally got there answer.
With the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Celtics drafted Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart. The Big 12’s 2013 Conference Player of the Year averaged 18.0 points and 4.8 assists per game last season for the Cowboys. The pick has been applauded by fans and experts, but Andy Gresh and fill-in host Dave Goucher wanted to know more about the 20-year old. So who better to talk to than the man who guided his college career.
Oklahoma State University men’s basketball head coach Travis Ford joined Gresh and Goucher on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh and Zolak show to talk about Smart and why he thinks Celtics fans are in for a treat.
“I think he’s going to make a better pro than he is college player.” says Ford. “He makes other people around him better and has one of the best understandings and the feel for basketball I’ve ever been around — especially defensively. He’s the best defensive player I’ve ever seen.”
While Smart’s talent is no secret, there have been concerns about his makeup. Most of that concern stems from an incident in a game against Texas Tech when Smart pushed a fan after a verbal altercation. But Ford says that Smart was dealing with personal issues at the time and that the incident is not indicative of his character.
“His competitive nature is off the charts and for one or two brief seconds, they got the most of him. And the greatest thing that came out of that whole incident is how he responded from it,” Ford says. “If you could’ve seen how he practiced in the couple games he had to sit out, it was unbelievable.”
While Smart is listed as a point guard, Ford says that where he plays ultimately won’t matter.
“He can play any of the positions. I think he’ll be a great point guard or a 2-guard. It’s really not going to matter to him.”
Listen below for all of Coach Ford’s thoughts on Marcus Smart: