After winning a gold medal with the U19 team in the Czech Republic, Marcus Smart probably thought his summer with Team USA was over. But apparently Team USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo wasn't quite ready to let Smart go back to Stillwater. According to a press release sent out earlier today, three players have been added to Team USA's mini-camp this summer, and Smart is one of them.
Smart will join the likes of Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, Larry Sanders and several other budding stars in the NBA in Las Vegas in a week to workout and practice with the team before playing in a showcase game to cap off the week. Team USA holds these mini-camps in non-Olympic years to see what kind of talent they have coming down the road and it's a necessary step that guys like Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala took to get themselves on an Olympic roster.
While some very young players have been invited to the camp, I was still shocked when I saw Smart's name on the list. He is the only college player that received an invite and none of the players from the 2013 draft class that Smart could have been apart of will be here, either. Team USA's brass must be extremely impressed with Smart to call him up to the big leagues this summer, especially since they had already invited a cornucopia of point guards to the mini-camp.
I'm not sure how many reps that Smart will get during the mini-camp, as guys like Irving and Lillard will likely be Coach K's primary focus and other NBA stars like Mike Conley, John Wall, Ty Lawson and Jrue Holiday getting their shots, too, but simply being in this environment can't do anything but help Smart mature and get better. And when he does get on the floor and has a chance to go up against some of the best guards in the league, he'll gain experience that no other summer camp in the world can offer.
It has been a while since Oklahoma State basketball had a true star, and in Marcus Smart we appear to have found someone that will not only live in Cowboy lore, but also someone that will go down as a star on every other platform that he reaches.
And if you think Smart was good last year as a true freshman, imagine how good he will be with a year of college experience, a U19 gold medal and a few summer sessions with Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard showing him the ropes.