Get Smart

It's difficult to find a tougher player in the class of 2012 than five-star wing Marcus Smart. Smart used that toughness to lead Texas Assault to the AAU 16's championship in Las Vegas over the summer.

But while Smart, a star for Marcus High School in Flower Mound (TX), is a known commodity in college basketball recruiting circles, the junior is just in the beginning stages of his recruitment.

In fact, Smart has taken just one visit, an unofficial trip to Baylor right before the summer.

"My first visit, it's one of those experiences you'll never forget," Smart said. "The coaches are really nice and the players were really nice. It was a very important moment in my life and it made me realize how different college was from high school.

"That's big-boy ball in college," Smart said. "It really made me want to work harder." Hard work has never been a problem for the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Smart. In fact, ask him about his game and you're not likely to get anything about his particular skill set.

"I would have to say I'm a very intense, hard-working, never want to lose type of player," Smart said.

And the type who can do a little bit of everything, from scoring to rebounding to playing defense. That doesn't mean that Smart doesn't realize that he has deficiencies in his game. He said he tries to model his game after those of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, and he credits the former with helping his desire to develop more of a mid-range game.

"To be really effective, you have to have the midrange guy," Smart said. "Everybody can make a three and everybody can make a layup. The guys who are really tough can score from mid-range.

"Those are two guys I really look up to," Smart said.

Smart also said he wants to work on his ball-handling.

Smart realized that he had the potential to play at the next level as a sophomore. After playing as a freshman on varsity, Smart excelled as a sophomore, performing well against players two and three years older than he was.

"I just thought, if I can do this against them, maybe I have a chance to be pretty good," Smart said.

Since then, most of the Big 12 has come calling, with Smart listing Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, K-State and "a lot more Big 12 schools" as his primary recruiters.

"The whole recruiting thing is a really big experience for a kid of my age," Smart said. "It's a great feeling, but it does get a little overwhelming."

Smart said he doesn't really have favorite teams at this point, and while he grew up watching college basketball, he said he didn't follow any specific teams, instead enjoying a variety of playing styles and players.

For a school to emerge as a leader for Smart, it will have to demonstrate two qualities: strong academics and coaches and players that Smart can get along with. While Smart isn't totally sure what he wants to major in, he said he would like to become a basketball coach and he likes history.

"I'm planning on taking more visits sometime soon," Smart said. "I'm just not sure where right now."

Smart said his current focus was on becoming a better teammate and trying to establish chemistry with his high school teammates. He doesn't plan on picking a college until next year sometime, and doesn't have a specific timeline.

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