We need to get the out of the way. Marcus Smart can't intentionally and forcibly touch fans. In fact, it's a good idea no matter where you are and who you are, to heed every Mom or Dad's or advice of keep your hands to yourself.
Smart's already kicked over a chair in frustration this year season. Does that, and his outburst on Sunday make him a hothead? It shoudn't. There's few in college basketball that could offer that behavioral resume, but I can empathize with Smart's seemingly uncharacteristic turbulent emotions this year.
You should be able to as well after you know some of the circumstances.
Oklahoma State has already lost 7 games this year, when they lost 9 all of last season.
Smart's sporadic fury is borne of from than just losses.
Marcus Smart made the commendable decision to stay in school after his freshman year, rather than entering the draft and becoming a lottery pick. Here's a 19 year old passing on what we'll say was at least $2.65 million dollars (he wasn't going to slip past the Pistons at 8. That's KCP's salary this year) to stick around and acknowledge the loss of money after his freshman year, and then his sophomore year knowing how talented the 2014 draft was going to be. How about saying his team had a lot more to accomplish and he wasn't ready to go out the way his team did (with a 1st round NCAA loss to Oregon).
Even those who would criticize - and they did - Smart for staying, SOME would have to praise his mature personality and mindset.
Before this season Smart endured some doubt about his decision. "I don't regret it. But I'm not 100 percent sure that was the right decision. But I don't regret making it because you can never come back to college and be a student-athlete. The NBA? You can have chances to go."
Smart also has a mom who needs a kidney, which, if you can get one, costs a quarter of a million dollars.
When Smart was 9, one of his brothers died of cancer.
An exorbitant amount of money, as well as family health concerns and the weight and expectations of a college basketball program that spends around $13 million dollars a year, 5th most out of 344 NCAA programs.
Marcus Smart didn't steal, rape or kill anyone. The reigning Heisman trophy winner may have.
19 year olds routinely make poor decisions.
19 year olds who cold-shouldered as Smart said, "more money than 95 percent of America can ever dream of making their whole life" have more emotional stress than your average college kid not on TV dozens of times a year.
I'm not absolving Smart of his recent his actions. They just to be recognized for what they are.
If there was a ever time to invoke the STUDENT part of student-athlete and not combust from hysterical laughter, now is that time. College years, if you're lucky enough to make it to one, are where you're supposed to make mistakes and subsequently learn from them.
An immense amount of responsibility comes with the talent and basketball scholarship Smart has been bestowed with.
That responsibility is earned. Maturity, wisdom and experience are learned.
Thankfully Marcus Smart has not made such an abominable error that he can't recover from.
I'm rooting for him.