Wildcat Authority had the opportunity to catch up with Smith and he talked about his recovery process, his plans going forward, and his excitement about Arizona's current class.
WA: Over the summer, you suffered a tough break when you tore your ACL, but you have been vocal about your recovery and everything seems to be coming along smoothly. How is your recovery so far?
Ray Smith: The recovery is coming along pretty well. My physical therapist said that I am about one to two weeks ahead of my recovery timetable. I have full motion and hyperextension in my leg, my kneecap has a good amount of stability, my calf has grown back to normal size and the swelling has gone down. Now I am waiting for my new ACL to fuse together and from there I will work to get my leg stronger.
WA: Years ago, an ACL injury was considered to be possibly career ending. With today’s technology and medical advancements, athletes and your average person are bouncing back from this injury at incredible speeds. For you, what were some of your initial thoughts and concerns when the injury first happened?
Smith: The severity of it never really hit me at first. I still felt like a basketball player after the injury, because great players bounce back from anything they can. It really hurt me when they said I could not play high school ball as a senior.
WA: The rehabilitation process is different for everyone. What has yours been like? What are some of the different workouts your therapist has you doing and has there been a time frame laid out for you when the doctor will label you fully recovered?
Smith: I have done a lot of different stuff. There are calf raises, one-legged squats, one-legged presses, hamstring curls, hip abductor workouts and a lot more that I can't even remember right now. There is currently no time frame because the process is lengthy and it is hard to put a set time on it. There is a five-month minimum, though. My new ACL has to fuse and that takes five months at the earliest.
WA: Your athletic ability is one of your best attributes. After suffering such a serious injury, do you think you think you will get back to where you were athletically or do you see yourself coming back even better?
Smith: I personally believe that I will come back better. Most people do not know that in rehab they make me do things that I could not do before I hurt myself. The therapist focuses on every part of the leg imaginable. I think my bounce will come back two times better and I will be quicker off the ball.
WA: If the worst scenario did come true and you had to miss your senior season of basketball, do you think you would be able to come into the 2015 school year and compete at a high level right away? The layoff from competitive basketball would be considerable.
Smith: Of course. When you look at the time that I leave, I leave in June and if I miss my senior season that would have been an 11-month recovery period. I plan to spend my time getting better along with becoming stronger. Also, I’ll have another three or four months to get Arizona good, so I am coming in ready to compete.
Smith: It takes us from an awesome three to a fantastic four. It adds another weapon to our Swiss Army Knife. All four of us are going to work hard and we are going to dominate.
WA: Where do you see Comanche fitting into the system? You mentioned yourself, Allonzo Trier and Justin Simon adding a new dynamic. What do you envision for Comanche?
Smith: He provides length and floor spacing. He’s unselfish and a great passer. He adds a lot of what I add, except he is better much better in the post, but I think I have him beat with the handles. I think he fits perfectly with us.
WA: Are you able to confirm your official visit?
Smith: October 18th will be my official visit and it’s marked on my calendar.