Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart was a star at Oklahoma State University before getting the call to NBA action, and his former coach is grateful for all the C's star has done for his team over the past week.

Travis Ford's Saint Louis Billikens were in town to play the Boston College Eagles this week, and Smart attended both practice and the game while also hosting his former coach's team at TD Garden as the Celtics defeated the Sacramento Kings by a slim 103-102 margin. The Billikens not only got a tour of TD Garden, but also some very special advice from Smart himself.

Ford was especially grateful for the gesture.

“It’s really hard to describe how much it means to me, for a guy who comes to practice and talks to our team – spends time, not just an hour, but hung out afterwards. I said you need to go, and he said ‘I’m good,’ and talking to guys individually. Really talked to Jordan [Goodwin]. He mentioned he might come today and I’m like nah, he won’t show up. Comes early and meets with me before the game, goes to pregame talk.

“It means a lot. We’ve been through a lot together, and you guys understand what type of a person he is," Ford said. "It’s not fake. He’s as real as it gets, and they don’t get any tougher.”

Before visiting with Smart, Ford put together a video of all the 25-year-olds best highlights over the years to show his team that playing with toughness can go a long way. Smart, of course, took notice of the video. 


“It says I’m doing something right,” Smart said. “For me to be the teaching tool, I’m doing something right. The hard work and everything I do is paying off. I’m not complacent – have to keep going – but it’s definitely good to hear.”

Smart has been successful throughout his NBA career and is one of the best defensive players in the league. He also contributes to the offensive side of the game averaging 12.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Knicks, which tips off Sunday at 3 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 3:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.