CHICAGO (AP) - Marcus Smart insists he has no regrets.
The guard from Oklahoma State dismissed the idea that he would have been better off turning pro a year earlier even though he had some struggles this season.
''Everything that happened this season, I wouldn't change it for a thing,'' Smart said Friday at the NBA draft combine. ''It helped me. It got me ready for the NBA and things that come in the NBA.''
Smart surprised some by returning to school following a strong freshman year. He got off to an excellent start last season, but slumped and began to lose his cool. On March 8, he shoved a Texas Tech fan and was suspended for three games. His Cowboys went through a seven-game losing streak, but his strong play late in the season pushed them into the NCAA tournament, where they lost to Gonzaga in the round of 64.
Smart wound up averaging 18 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists as a sophomore, but while his scoring went up from 15.4 per game, accuracy remained an issue. He shot just over 42 percent overall and just 29.9 percent on 3-pointers.
The combine gave him a chance to show his improvement on the court. But the real showcase for him was in the meetings with teams.
It was his chance to make the case that he has matured, that he is worthy of a high first-round pick. He said team executives weren't too concerned.
''I looked at it as a learning curve, just like they did,'' Smart said. ''It's something that you're going to learn from, and it's gonna get you ready for the type of things you're gonna go through in the NBA.''
He said that while he's not shying away from that, he trying to move on and focus on the future. He doesn't want to dwell on it.
''That's exactly what I told them,'' Smart said.
As for how high he goes in the draft next month?
''If I'm a top pick, I'm a top pick,'' Smart said. ''If I'm not, I'm not. I'm not going to worry about it, as long as I can be able to play in the NBA and ... make an impact.''
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