Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

February 10, 2014

OSU guard Marcus Smart suspended 3 games

STILLWATER — In conjunction with the Big 12 Conference, Oklahoma State sophomore point guard Marcus Smart will serve a three-game suspension after shoving a fan near the end of the Texas Tech game Saturday in Lubbock, Texas.

While Smart will miss the next three games, he will still be allowed to practice with the team while Cowboy coach Travis Ford said in press conference held Sunday in Gallagher-Iba Arena that Smart would not travel with the team for Tuesday's Big 12 game at Texas.

In a release by the Big 12 Conference offices, Smart will be prohibited from all team travel and game day activities during his suspension.

"First off, I want to apologize to the fan, whose name is Jeff Orr. I want to apologize to him and to my teammates, my coaching staff, my family, Oklahoma State University," said Smart, who did not read from a prepared statement. "This is not how I condone myself. This is not how the program is ran. This is not how I was raised. I let my emotions get the best of me and I just can't let that happen again."

With members of the Oklahoma State basketball team on hand — both players, coaches and support staff — Smart spoke for just over a minutes and did not field questions from the media.

"This is something I have to learn from, a lesson I have to learn from," Smart said. "I'm taking full responsibility — no finger pointing, this is all on me. I just truly apologize to those that are very important to me.

"I feel like I let my teammates down. These guys mean a lot to me and not to be able to be out there with them hits me in my heart. I have a lot of people who look up to me, a lot of little kids."

The situation comes at a rough time for the Cowboy program. Not only has OSU been down their best defensive post player in Michael Cobbins since the start of the conference season due to an Achilles injury, just last week freshman point guard Stevie Clark was dismissed from the team for his second arrest in less than two months.

"We have opportunities for players to step up, opportunities for our team to grow right now," Ford said. "Obviously, Marcus has been a major identity of our basketball team, no question about it. This is going to give an opportunity for some of them who haven’t been playing quite as much to pick up the slack while he is out.

"In any situation, we try to look for the positives and this will be great for him to sit back, watch, evaluate our team, spend a lot of time with our team and get them prepared to play. When it’s his time, I’m expecting him to come back better than ever. I’m expecting him to come back and help this basketball team in every way that he possibly he can."

The late-game reaction by Smart in Saturday's loss to Texas Tech sparked a media and social media storm that included speculation as to the comments made by the Red Raiders fan that led to Smart reacting as he did. ESPN televised the Sunday press conference live during SportsCenter.

When Oklahoma City Thunder all-star Kevin Durant was asked after Sunday's game with the New York Knicks about Smart's reaction, Durant said, "It was the heat of the moment, and I'm not sure I would have reacted any different. … We’re all human and words do hurt and some things should be kept to yourself.”

Texas Tech released a statement Sunday, at the same time as the Oklahoma State press conference, about its own investigation into the incident. The statement says Jeff Orr, the fan involved in the incident, "admitted to directing an inappropriate phrase" at the Cowboy sophomore.

Included in the release from the university is a statement from Orr, in which he claims he called Smart a "piece of crap." The release states that Orr "voluntarily agreed to not attend a Texas Tech home or away basketball game for the remainder of the season."

Ford said during the OSU press conference that Texas Tech did not contact him in the process of their investigation. Holder said Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt reached out to him Sunday, but the OSU athletics director did not specify if Texas Tech included Oklahoma State in their investigation.

Smart will miss two road games back to the state of Texas during the suspension — Tuesday's game in Austin and a game at Baylor Feb. 17. The sophomore point guard will also miss Saturday's home Bedlam battle with Oklahoma. The next game Smart will be available to play is Feb. 22 in Gallagher-Iba Arena — against Texas Tech.

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