Saturday, May 26, 2012

Welcome home, Roscoe Smith

Roscoe Smith

Update - 5/27/12 7:00am - All current and future rosters have been updated 

Well, Las Vegas is about to become Mr. Smith's home for the next few years -- so why not welcome him!(obvious play on a popular movie title). Runnin' Rebels fans will get to see Roscoe Smith at the fan preview, but it is yet undetermined as to whether he plays on the 2012-13 roster. Here are the scenarios:

1) Roscoe Smith is not granted a waiver by the NCAA to play immediately, forcing him to redshirt like any other player transferring teams. If you were unaware, UCONN was hit with sanctions (for failure to meet academic goals) banning the team from conference or NCAA tournament play. It has also cost UCONN an appearance in this coming years Carrier Classic, previously hosted in San Diego and starring UNC and Michigan St. Many of Smith's UCONN teammates have transferred or declared for the NBA draft - given the futility of playing for UCONN this season, its hard to argue against it. The gist - forced redshirt, we welcome him to the court on the 2013-14 squad when Mike Moser and possibly Anthony Bennett have gone on to the NBA.

2) Roscoe Smith is granted a waiver by the NCAA. He becomes eligible to play this year for the Rebels, adding even more depth at the small forward spot behind Anthony Bennett.

3) Roscoe Smith is granted a waiver by the NCAA, yet decides to redshirt to improve his offensive game and wait until there is more room at the small forward position to get a lot of minutes.

Regardless of scenario, the prevailing logic right now is that several people will redshirt this coming season, most likely would be Demertris Morant, then Roscoe Smith (voluntarily or not), and possibly Daquan Cook (less likely with the leaving of Reggie Smith).

But putting all of this aside, who is Roscoe Smith and what can the Rebels expect? I've scoured the Internet to find that answer.

Coach Rice was quoted as saying of Smith “He is a terrific player, a proven winner and has a tremendous work ethic. He is a versatile wing that can play and guard multiple positions.”

All true. Here's what the UCONN media and fans say about Roscoe Smith on those points:

Hardcore UCONN Blogger David Gillett profiled Roscoe Smith after his freshman (championship) year, and had this to say:

Looking Back: Roscoe Smith had a rough freshman campaign. He struggled with consistency on the offensive end and saw his playing time fluctuate. His jumpers were all over the rim and he lacked a way to put the ball on the floor to create a shot. He turned into a defensive and rebounding specialist and did the dirty work that the team needed from him to ultimately win the championship. Unfortunately he will be most remembered for his flub at the end of regulation against Texas where he tossed a half court shot with eleven seconds remaining on the clock.
The Good: He plays hard on the defensive end and was tasked with covering the opponents most offensively talented players. He has great length and athleticism. His shot isn’t horrible, he just needs confidence in it. If he can find ways to get to the line and see the ball drop in the basket a few times, it would help his shot drastically. He is a tough nosed player and doesn’t mind banging bodies inside and is the type of player Jim Calhoun loves.
The Bad: He has no go-to-move and needs to work on getting points in the paint. He settled for quick jumpers and that isn’t his game right now. He needs to develop a post game and a way to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. He also needs to do a better job of blocking out. He had a hard time adjusting to college and tried to use his athleticism to get rebounds instead of putting a body on his man.
Looking Ahead: With a whole year under his belt and a taste of success, Roscoe should take the next step in his development and contribute more on the offensive end. If he can flirt with ten points and ten boards a game, then he will warrant a major role because of his outstanding defensive ability. The wing position takes the most time to develop and Roscoe has all the tools to be successful, fans just need to be patient. Link

Connecticut Post writer/blogger for UCONN Kevin Duffy wrote of Smith's leaving for UNLV

Sources indicate that Smith transferred because he wanted to play on the perimeter. Though he would have been guaranteed a starting spot and quality minutes at UConn, he would have primarily played power forward. 
Smith, a starter in 33 of 41 games during UConn’s run to the 2011 national title, struggled to crack the rotation on a regular basis this past year. He averaged just 4.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game. He did, however, thrive in a critical five-game stretch that helped UConn clinch its NCAA berth. Link

And then we have the UCONN fans. The author of this particular post (champs99and04) seems well versed in UCONN basketball (1255 posts) and expressed this sentiment on the loss of Roscoe Smith:

I too, thought Roscoe should have stuck it out at UConn because I think that would have been best for his career. But I think calling him a "glue guy" is selling him short. No, he wasn't a star, but basketball is a team sport, and without the hard nosed role players like Smith and Oriakhi, Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb wouldn't have gotten the chance to do their thing. Forget winning a national championship, because I'm not even sure the 2010-11 Huskies make the tournament without Roscoe. They were thin up front, Roscoe came in under the assumption that he was going to play the three, but yet he played the four nearly the entire season. Over his two years he was as selfless a player as anybody could have hoped for, which is why it surprised me that he decided to leave.  
The bottom line is that although Roscoe and Oriakhi won't be held in the same regard as guys like Adrien, Khalid, etc., they still contributed massively to this program during their stints here, never got into trouble off the court, and kept their grades up. I have a lot of respect for Roscoe and Oriakhi, even if I disagree with their decisions to leave. Link
Speaking to the decision to leave and nicely summarizing Roscoe Smith's career, Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant wrote this:

Smith, a sophomore from Baltimore, started 33 games as a freshman in 2010-11, averaged 25.4 minutes, 6.3 points and 5.2 rebounds. In the NCAA final against Butler, Smith blocked four shots. This past season, Smith started 18 games and averaged 18.2 minutes. He began playing a bigger role in late February, when the Huskies (20-14) began playing better as a team. 
Calhoun would not comment on his discussions with Smith. A team source, requesting anonymity, said Smith's decision stemmed from his desire to play small forward rather than power forward. With Oriakhi, who has since committed to Missouri, gone, and small forward types Omar Calhoun and R.J. Evans coming in, Smith was most likely to play power forward. Smith, unless he can obtain some sort of waiver from the NCAA, will have to sit out a year before resuming at a new school. Link

This is Smith's statline:
Season gp gs min         minavg tp ptsavg fgm fga fgpct  fg3pct
2010-11 41 33 1040 25.4        258 6.3           87 227 .383 .301
2011-12 33 14 602     18.2        146 4.4           53 125 .424 .241
TOTAL 74 47 1642 22.2        404 5.5          140 352 .398 .286

Season ftm fta ftpct oreb   dreb treb rebavg a to blk     stl
2010-11 59 75 .787 78 135 213   5.20         19 36 51        21
2011-12 33 51 .647 39 73 112 3.39          7   28 19            7
TOTAL 92 126 .730 117 208 325 4.39        26 64 70         28

Coach Rice's words are accurate. Roscoe Smith is a champion. He's a valuable player who is a tough defender who is often tasked to defend the opposing teams best player, and can defend from the 2 spot to the 5. His offensive game needs a bit of work, and shot is inconsistent. He does a lot of invaluable things other than defend, he brings intensity and heart, and does things that don't show up in statlines. My theory besides other obvious factors (style of play, friends on the team, region, etc), is UNLV has become a treasured spot for forwards because they will have the opportunity to work 1-on-1 with Stacey Augmon, who was a hell of a player and was the former player development coach to the Denver Nuggets. The Runnin' Rebels have scored a major coup by recruiting Roscoe Smith, and he will provide some continuity when we do lose early Mike Moser and Anthony Bennett, and quite possibility Khem Birch. 

No comments:

Post a Comment