On Saturday night, waves were sent through the college basketball and sports world when Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart shoved a fan following a hard foul underneath the basket late in Oklahoma State's game at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.
The shockwaves were certainly felt in the NBA — although its effect will not be seen until June's Draft a long time from now. Smart is one of the top prospects and a likely top-10 pick for this year's star-studded NBA Draft. And so this incident caught the eye of many.
It is still unclear exactly what set Smart off. There are unsubstantiated rumors of a racial slur being hurled. Smart apologized for the incident and accepted his three-game suspension. Now comes the part of getting his answers down and preparing to repair his image.
No one knows more about that than Metta World Peace, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest. World Peace was involved in one of the ugliest player-fan brawls in sports history in the infamous "Malace at the Palace." World Peace has grown a lot since then.
He happened to be in Oklahoma City for Sunday's game between his Knicks and the Thunder and offered some advice for the 19-year-old sophomore and future NBA pick (h/t Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman):
Those incidents, you can’t really learn much from things that are out of your control, but you can become more conscious. You become wiser as you get older. Even John, the guy that threw the beer at me in Detroit, he actually apologized to me. We actually talked. He said, “I was dumb for doing that, sorry,” and he lost all his money, so we’re actually cool. I didn’t hold no grudges for him.
World Peace said when he was 19, he probably would have done something similar as he was a bit hot-headed and would lash out. He has become more "conscious" now so he knows to listen to his elders and let cooler heads prevailed. Sometimes you have to have these mistakes to mature.
Hopefully this is an isolated incident and was completely out of character for Smart. That seems to be the consensus among scouts and those who have talked to, coached and know Smart. Only time will tell if this affects him during the draft process.
Smart is still a top-10 talent and should have his name thrown into the ring when the June Draft comes around.