Arizona suffered a devastating loss late this week as freshman small forward Ray Smith suffered a torn ACL, the school announced. The 6-foot-8 Smith was regarded as a five-star prospect coming out of high school and the Las Vegas native was drawing strong reviews for his play with the Wildcats this fall.
Smith tore the ACL in his right knee this week, which is significant since he tore the ACL in his left knee during the July live evaluation period in the summer of 2014. The torn ACL suffered in high school forced Smith to miss his senior year at Las Vegas High School, but he recovered strongly enough where many believed he would be a major contributor for the Wildcats this season. Without Smith, Arizona has some questions on the wing and it will be interesting to see who they turn to for their new lineup.
“Ray Smith is one of the most talented young players that has ever entered our program,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said in the school’s release. “The news of his injury is incredibly disappointing on several levels. However, the togetherness of our program is one of our strengths. Our great fans, former and current players, our medical and coaching staffs along with Ray’s family look forward to the challenges of helping him reach all of his goals and dreams. His journey in getting to the top of the mountain might be different, but I have tremendous belief that he will get there with this type of support, his amazing determination to succeed and the love of the game of basketball that he possesses. Today, Ray Smith remains one of the most talented young players we have ever had at Arizona and that has not changed.”
For now, the Wildcats will just have to move on without their talented freshmen wing, as members of the team have started to show public signs of support.
Arizona will have a very different roster from last season in terms of players receiving regular minutes and one of the new players expected to compete for early minutes is freshman wing Ray Smith. A talented 6-foot-8 wing from Las Vegas, Smith tore his ACL during the July live evaluation period during the summer of 2014, costing him his senior season of high school basketball.
But Smith worked hard during rehab and is ready to enter college basketball completely healthy, according to head coach Sean Miller. In an interview with Bruce Pascoe, Miller explained how hard Smith worked to be in a position to play right away for the Wildcats:
“Ray’s cleared for everything right now. Him and his dad did an incredible job going from last summer when he sustained the injury to being patient and yet super aggressive in the rehabilitation process. And he came to us at a really good place. We were really careful the first couple of months that he was here to make sure his strength level in both legs was good. …
“He loves the game. He’s really talented. When I look at him, he reminds me in some ways of a bouncier Solomon Hill in that he’s 6-8, he has a great skill level shooting, he’s a very creative, unselfish passer and he’s fluid in transition. We have high hopes for him. He can play small forward, and like all the guys who play small forward for us, sometimes we play them at the four.”
Miller goes into detail about other players on the Arizona roster, including other newcomers, in Pascoe’s full interview, but it’s especially good to see that Smith is back to full strength. Regarded as a five-star prospect, Smith was kind of a forgotten player in the Class of 2015 since he hasn’t played much in the past year, but he has a chance to open some eyes with his play early if he’s completely ready to go.
Five-star shooting guard Allonzo Trier has committed to Sean Miller and Arizona on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports.
Evan Daniels of Scout.com first reported the commitment, immediately followed by a tweet from Jeff Goodman of ESPN.
The 6-foot-4 Trier is rated as the No. 12 overall player in the Class of 2015, by Rivals. He is the third five-star recruit to commit to the Wildcats, joining guard Justin Simon and wing Ray Smith. That class will also include Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson, who will use his last season of eligibility during the 2015-2016 season.
MORE: Justin Simon to make impact on both ends of floor | Ray Smith calls ACL tear ‘a blessing’
Trier has been in the spotlight since he was 13-years-old, appearing on the cover of New York Times Magazine. The phenom turned into the top scorer in the Nike EYBL this summer. During the Peach Jam, he averaged 30.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game for his team, Athletes First. Earlier in the summer he was the starting guard for USA Basketball U18 team, which won gold in the FIBA Americas Championships. Miller was one of Billy Donovan’s assistants on that coaching staff.
Since 2011, Miller has landed 10 five-star commits, according to Rivals. This current class could end up being an important one for his program. Wings Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are projected first rounders in early mock drafts. Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley are pegged as second round picks. Point guard T.J. McConnell is also a senior.
Trier will play for powerhouse Findlay Prep (Nevada) this upcoming season.