The former Science Hill player stands 6-foot-10 and 260 pounds, filling out since his high school days. After an injury-plagued high school career when he suffered a broken leg on three different occasions, he played junior college ball at Columbia State Community College, where he averaged 8.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
He was recruited by and later signed with NCAA Division I Florida A&M University, but back injuries forced him to medical redshirt. After the Rattlers released him, he went to Campbellsville, an NAIA school in Kentucky to complete his college career.
Finding a new home in the Bluegrass State, he was a first-team Mid-South Conference selection his junior season with averages of 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Smith is on pace to top that this senior season with the Tigers. Through 21 games, he’s averaging a double-double of 16.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. He also has a team-best 40 blocked shots and he has 3.2 assists per game, playing in the post.
In a game earlier this season against Philander Smith, he had 28 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots. He followed it up the next game against Berkeley College with 27 points, a dozen rebounds and five blocks.
We caught up with the former Hilltopper asked about his experiences and how he’s developed as a college basketball player.
HOW HAVE PROGRESSED SINCE YOUR FRESHMAN YEAR?
Smith: “I’ve added to my game more and more and it’s grown a lot from last year,” he said. “Coach puts in plays where we’re able to do the right things on the court and get in a groove the best I can.”
WHAT PART OF YOUR GAME NEEDS THE MOST IMPROVEMENT?
Smith: “I’m still trying to get in better shape to get my body the best it can possibly be. “I’m working on extending my range, so I hit those shots. I feel confident in my game around the rim, but I need to be better stepping out, making the 15-18 jump shot and the 3-point shot.”
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE GAME IN COLLEGE?
Smith: “We played the conference semifinals at Pikeville last year and they were the No. 3 team in the country,” he recalled. “We beat them 67-65 to go on the championship game. We also have a rivalry with Lindsey Wilson. We played them at their place when they were No. 2 in the country. It was standing-room only, a fun environment, a pair of the most fun games I’ve played in.”
HOW ABOUT THE REPUTATION OF YOUR LEAGUE?
Smith: “The Mid-South Conference is the toughest in the nation for NAIA basketball. Last year, six of the eight teams made the NAIA national tournament. It’s loaded with D1 transfers, last year, there were 16 D1 transfers in the league. Once you get to conference play, there are no easy games with it loaded from top to bottom.”
WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT SCIENCE HILL, WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT?
Smith: “It’s hard to have a favorite moment as I was hurt a lot. My favorite part was the relationship with the guys there. Calvin Songster is a lifelong friend and I became good friends with the other guys on the team.”
WHAT ARE YOU STUDYING AT CAMPBELLSVILLE? YOU STATED YOU ENJOY THE SCHOOL FROM AN ACADEMIC STANDPOINT AS WELL AS ATHLETICS.
Smith: “I’m studying sociology with a minor in coaching. I really like the school, all the people, it’s great environment to find what you want to do with your life and to build success.”
WHAT ARE YOUR ASPIRATIONS WITH PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL?
Smith: “I’ve talked to a couple of different people about my options of playing overseas. That’s something I would love to do and I believe in the right opportunity, I can excel.”