As it turned out, the in injury only expedited Smith’s commitment to the University of Arizona.
“After the injury, Ray came to me and said he would like to commit to Arizona and get it out of the way and I was obviously more than fine with that,” said Ray’s father, Bobby Smith.
“I think the injury made him really want to focus on his recovery while at the same time not having to worry about what school he was going to attend.”
With all the heavy recruiting lifting from the Wildcat coaching staff, it was only a matter of time before Smith became a Wildcat.
“I don’t think it was a huge secret that Arizona was one of Ray’s favorites," Bobby said. "A ton of that had to do with Coach Stoudamire. He knew what Ray was before I did.
"Back when Ray was averaging like 11 a game, Coach Stoudamire was telling me that he would lead the state in scoring. I was surprised he would say that at the time, but now it makes a lot of sense.”
Arizona’s support in the aftermath of Smith’s knee injury made committing even easier.
“He’s going to be operated on in the next five days or so," Bobby said. "The doctor said he will spend about five or six months recovering and then should be ready to roll.
“We were kind of nervous to call and see. Anytime a kid sustains a serious injury you expect people to back away from them. That wasn’t the case at all.
"They said they would love for him to become a Wildcat and that he would be back even better than ever. That was great to hear.”