Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart officially declares for 2014 NBA Draft per report

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Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart returned for his sophomore season amid a lot of fanfare along with senior wing Markel Brown and junior wing Le’Bryan Nash last spring. Now the 6-foot-4 Smart will go pro, according to a report in the Oklahoman. The sophomore will move to Los Angeles to train later this week, according to the story.

“I’ve told my teammates and my coaching staff, this year was my last year here and I am declaring for the NBA Draft,” Smart said in the John Helsey story. “I have picked an agent, with the Wasserman Group, a great group of guys.

“Ready to rock and roll. I’m getting ready for the NBA Draft and I’m ready to start training.”

Smart averaged 18 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game in an up-and-down year that included a losing streak, a fan shoving incident and a return to the NCAA Tournament before falling to Gonzaga in the Round of 64.

“I had a great season here at Oklahoma State,” Smart said in the story. “It’s weird, because I didn’t go to the NBA Draft last year, I chose to come back – which I do not regret at all. A lot of people say I made the wrong decision. But who are they to tell me what I should have done? It’s me, not them.

“I believe I made the right decision. I get to do what I love to do.”

Smart is a likely lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Last year, some viewed Smart as a potential No. 1 pick candidate before he returned to school and played against a strong group of freshmen that saw his stock slip a little bit.

VIDEO: Nebraska’s Shavon Shields stretchered off after scary fall

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Nebraska forward Shavon Shields was stretchered off of the floor after a scary fall as the Huskers were taking on Rutgers.

Nebraska was up by 17 in the second half when Shields bit on a pump fake and tried to block a Rutgers player’s shot. But his momentum carried him over the player’s shoulder, and he landed on what appeared to be up upper back, neck and right shoulder.

Here is the video. Be warned: it’s a nasty fall:

According to the broadcast, Shields lost consciousness on the floor and was taken to a local hospital.

Rick Pitino: ‘We should be penalized … but not this team’

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One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.

Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.

How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?

Well, it seems.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.

And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.

“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”

He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.

But credit the Cardinals for responding.

Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.