Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

January 18, 2014

Smart, Cowboys return to site of infamous backflip

It's necessary for an athlete to have short-term memory, whether the moment was a positive or a negative.

Memory is left to the fans. And a fan base like that at Kansas is sure to remember what happened the last time Oklahoma State ventured into Allen Fieldhouse.

While OSU winning in Lawrence for the first time since 1989 is sure to sink in from looking back at last year's win by the Cowboys, it won't be the first memory had. Instead, it will be what then-freshman Marcus Smart did after the OSU win — a backflip in the middle of James Naismith Court.

"Kansas is a tough place to play in and it's a great opportunity for us to go back there and play another great team at a great place with a great environment," Smart said. "Their crowd really backs up their team. And rightfully so, everybody knows how good Kansas is as a team — with that coaching staff and some great players."

Hearing it from the fans is nothing new for Smart. After all, a team's top player usually priority No. 1 for opposing fans to target in hopes of affecting their game.

At Kansas State, there were chants about him flopping, while the West Virginia crowd simple took pleasure in booing the future NBA Draft lottery pick.

"You just keep playing. For the most part, I get in a zone where I block it out and can't really hear it," Smart said. "You've just got to let it go. It's going to happen, you can't control it, so don't focus on something you can't control."

Kansas coach Bill Self was asked about the backflip from the OSU's star point guard, and while Self said it didn't bother him — that he was more bothered by "the fact that we played like crap" — he did give Smart some props for the flip itself.

"I watched it on tape and I thought it was beautiful form," Self said in his weekly press conference Thursday in Lawrence. "I thought he tucked just at the right time and got full extension. I thought it was very impressive."

As for what Smart remembers from the response following his post-game celebration?

"Just like any other crowd, you're going to be upset and I understand that," Smart said. "I would expect them to be upset."

Jason Elmquist is sports editor of The Stillwater News Press.

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