It’s difficult to find any kind of excuse for Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State shoving Texas Tech fan Jeff Orr, but maybe there’s more to this story and a reason why this young basketball star struggling to cope with the attention and pressure did what he did.
In a 65-61 loss against Texas Tech, which is the sixth loss this season for the Cowboys, Smart tried to save the day in the final seconds by trying to block Jaye Crockett with 6.2 left on the clock. Smart went flying into the stands, and something happened there between him and Orr. From the camera, it’s easy to see Orr saying to Smart “I’m sorry, I’m Sorry” before being shoved by Smart, who was then called for a technical foul but not ejected.
Orr is a dedicated Texas Tech fan who travels thousands of miles each year to see the Red Raiders’ basketball game, and obviously shows up at the same spot in every home game, as can be seen in the next video from a game between Texas A&M and Texas Tech. He shows up on camera taunting a player, but not doing anything that goes beyond the permissible and reasonable from a fan trying to get under a player’s skin.
There’s no proof right now that Orr did something too out of line to cause that kind of reaction from Smart, who has the whole world targeting him since the moment he decided to stay for another season instead of going for the NBA.
But maybe something happened there in those few seconds the camera can’t get a glimpse of. From trying to read Smart’s lips after the shove, it seems that Smart is telling his teammates that the fan is a racist and he called him a nigger. That probably changes the circumstances quite a bit about what happened, and casts a completely different light on the matter, but it’s still the wrong reaction from Smart.
He has been taking a media beating this season. His numbers are up, but Oklahoma State are disappointing in their Big 12 performances (4-6) and will probably fall out of the top 25 after this loss. Smart has been marked as the number one flopper in the game, and it’s no secret that his draft stock is falling fast because of his behavior on the court.
We haven’t heard the last of this Smart-Texas Tech fan saga, and if there was racial abuse it’s going to take a lot of heat off the talented sophomore. However, with his reactions and inability to handle the attention regardless of this incident, Smart isn’t doing himself any favors.