Arizona commit Ray Smith calls ACL tear ‘a blessing’

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Two weeks ago, Ray Smith, a top 10 player in the Class of 2015, committed to Arizona. He originally planned to make that announcement on Sunday evening, telling Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star that he believed his team, Dream Vision, would be in the adidas Super 64 final. And what better way to cap off your summer than a live college announcement on ESPNU?

Unfortunately, Smith’s summer came to a sudden end when he torn his ACL. The 6-foot-7 wing has taken everything in stride since the injury, he told Pascoe.

“I go through days. Things happen. People die. People get hurt. You look every week, and there’s a kid who tore his ACL,” he said. “A lot of people say ‘Why me?’ But my question is, why not me? What have I done that’s so special to not get this to happen to myself? I look at it as a blessing. Once I get through it, I’ll have a story of how I dealt with the obstacle of a torn ACL, how I stayed positive and how I can be a role model for people who tore their ACL or might tear their ACL.”

Pretty impressive statements from a 17-year-old, and a positive sign for the Wildcats.

Smith is one of two five-star recruits Sean Miller has in his Class of 2015, along with shooting guard Justin Simon. Smith, who shot up the recruiting boards with his play on the grassroots circuit, could play a big role in the 2015-2016 season for the Wildcats. Forwards Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could both end up being first round picks in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Smith had surgery on his knee last week, according to Pascoe.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Thanksgiving Day Edition!

Kevin Ollie
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.

For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.

The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.


1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.

2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.

3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.

4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.

5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?


  • No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
  • No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
  • No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley

No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: