- Jeff Goodman, ESPN Insider
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"I've probably built up a little reputation, and I'm not questioning that," Smart said after the Cowboys' latest loss -- at home in triple overtime Monday to Iowa State -- the team's fourth defeat in its past five contests. "But I'm not the only one flopping. Every team and every player does it to make sure you get the call."
Smart decided to return to Stillwater for his sophomore season despite being considered a lock for a high-lottery pick had he decided to enter the 2013 NBA draft. He told ESPN that he has no regrets about spurning millions and returning to school, even though his team is struggling and he has displayed his frustration on the court with emotional outbursts.
One reason for Smart's dissatisfaction lately is what he considers inconsistency with officiating. He said the emphasis on handchecking rules, which went into effect prior to the season, has played a significant factor.
"It's so inconsistent," Smart said about the new rules. "We have no idea what to expect. And as a player, it messes with your mind.
"It's incredible how inconsistent the new rules have been. If they call it on one end, they have to call it on the other end. I don't blame it on anyone. It's a big adjustment for the refs also. They're learning just like us."
Smart's production is similar to that of a year ago. He is averaging 17.3 points per game, up from 15.4 as a freshman. He told ESPN before the season that two key reasons for returning were to improve his perimeter shot and his ability to play point guard.
He is shooting 28 percent from beyond the arc, down slightly from a year ago, but he is averaging nearly one turnover fewer per contest.
"I started the year well, but I haven't been playing to the best of my ability lately," he said.
Added senior teammate Markel Brown: "It's been tough for him. Everyone's out to get him, and he's still young and learning."
Oklahoma State's next game is Saturday at Texas Tech, and Smart said he will have a different mindset.
"I know players are going to go out and take shots at me," he said. "Starting this game, I'm putting it in the back of my mind. If that's how it's going to be played, that's how it's going to be played. If they can do it to me, I can do it also. That's my mindset from here on out. Physically, there's going to be nothing easy."