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.