Jayhawks show interest in top Texas junior

Though they had to overcome a little bit of off-the-court drama to achieve it, the Flower Mound (TX) Marcus High School Marauders recently rolled to a Texas Class 5A state championship - and junior Marcus Smart was a key ingredient to that success. The talented 6-foot-3 guard is drawing attention from some of the biggest names in the college game.

There is no measure by which the Flower Mound (TX) Marcus High School basketball team failed to be dominant during the recently-concluded basketball season.

The Marauders went 38-1, en route to a Texas Class 5A state championship. They are considered by many to be one of the top teams not just in the Lone Star State, but the entire country.

But while things frequently came easily on the court, off the court the waters weren't quite as calm.

Marcus Smart transferred to Marcus High School as a freshman after his family moved to Flower Mound. Now a junior, Smart is a 6-foot-3 small forward - who also happens to be one of the top prep talents in the Class of 2012.

Shortly before the Class 5A playoffs were to tip off this season, complaints were made to the University Interscholastic League – a governing body founded by the University of Texas in the early 1900s, charged with overseeing inter-school debate and athletics competitions.

The complaints centered around the amount of money the Smart family was paying in rent on their home - a home owned by the father of Phil Forte, a friend since childhood and one of his fellow Marauders.

However, an investigation by UIL representatives found no evidence of wrongdoing, and in late February it was announced that Smart would remain eligible.

Soft spoken, the athlete himself says by weathering the storm the Marauders proved they were much more than a one man team.

"It was a great run for us," he said. "Especially with all the stuff we've been going through this season."

Individually, the season was a massive success for Smart. Already owning a high profile thanks to a standout 2010 season on the AAU circuit, he showed himself capable of playing any of the three backcourt positions and took big steps forward in one of his biggest areas of weakness.

"My outside shooting," he explained. "Everyone knows I wasn't one of the best shooters, my shot wasn't that accurate, but I worked on it this year and just became better at it."

With the season now behind him, Smart's attention will turn once again to AAU basketball – his last season with Texas Assault – and the recruiting process.

As one might imagine, his suitors are numerous, with interest and offers coming in from some of the top college basketball programs in the country. Kansas, North Carolina, Texas and many more are all vying for his services.

Of the Jayhawks, Smart had this to say:

"I'm interested in them, no doubt. Kansas is a great ball club. Over the years they've accomplished a lot of things. There's definitely interest there."

Right now, however, he named North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M as the schools recruiting him the hardest. But fans shouldn't expect a decision anytime soon.

Smart is taking his time with the process.

"I'm still open," he said. "I'm not making any big decisions."

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