2003 BB recruit: Lanny Smith

The Houston Chronicle's Boys Player of the Year <BR> Averaged 12.9 ppg, 9.8 apg, 4.1 spg

SK - How's it going?
LS - Pretty good. Just finished up working with some of the campers at Coach Ray's basketball camp.

SK - How did this past season go for you?
LS - Overall I'm happy with it but I was left unsatisfied since we didn't win a state championship, which was the ultimate goal. Individually I was very pleased with how I played. It was probably the best season I've had.

SK - You were called upon to score more this year, how did that go?
LS - I believe I've always had the ability to score. Coach Wise the last couple of years has wanted me to look for my shot more. After losing the guys we had the previous season I knew I had to step it up and look for my shot a little more.

SK - Is that something you'll do more of on a college level? Or will your main focus be to pass the ball.
LS - I think I'll always be more of a distributor than a scorer though I have to take my shots to keep the defense honest. Before last year, a lot of times the defense knew I would pass instead of shoot so they backed off of me and I ended up forcing the pass and turning it over.

SK - You worked very hard on your shot this past summer and it really showed this year.
LS - I put a lot of work into my shooting and will continue to do so. To take my game to another level I have to be able to hit jumpers to help my team. It also opens up the penetration aspect of my game.

SK - You've improved from the free throw line as well.
LS - In the past I was inconsistent and if I was going to get there I need to be more efficient and convert once I got there.

SK - Hightower plays a pressure/trapping defense. Is it a fun defense to play?
LS - It is fun. You get a lot of steals and turnovers. It keeps the game at the frantic pace we liked. Towards the end of the season though it starts to wear you down, especially since we didn't have much depth at the point guard spot. It's worked out great though for the team. It is a very good system.

SK - You had a great closing run in the playoffs. What was your favorite game in the playoffs?
LS - Probably, the Kingwood game. We were down by 16 late in the second half and everyone had pretty much given up on us and we pulled it out. It showed a lot of character and heart by our team.

SK - You were pretty worn down by the end of the season, especially in the last game of the year (State semi-finals).
LS - The last two games I was pretty fatigued. Before the last game started my body was already aching. Coach Ray said he had some people see the game and saw how tired I was. He said the weight program I'm on now will keep my body from breaking down towards the end of the season.

SK - Did you do much weightlifting prior to last season?
LS - We did some with the team but it wasn't nearly like it is now working with Coach Young.

SK - While Hightower was having a great season, UH was having a pretty dismal one. What did you think about the Cougars season?
LS - Seeing how George left for the draft, then a couple of guys got in trouble and then having only Truscott back as a starter, well. That's a hard situation. You can't really expect too much with so many holes you're trying to fill and new guys coming in. A lot of guys around me were making fun of the situation and telling me "look what you go into" but I didn't pay much attention to them. If you look how the team did the year before when they had everyone back and then going to the postseason. You can tell things will turn around. This upcoming year will be a different story than last.

SK - Everyone I talk to about you says that from the word go you are going to have the ball in your hands and will be the leader of this team. Is that what you think?
LS - That's my mindset going in. When that first game starts I'll be on the court. That's my mindset and my focus. I'm going to work as hard as I can to be a starter this year.

SK - How has your off-season workouts been going?
LS - I took two weeks off after the playoffs ended and then started working out. Coach Young puts you through hell but it will pay off in the long run. I need the strength on this next level and the muscle to avoid fatigue toward the end of the year. We added another element this past week as we started running on the track early in the morning.

SK - You look like you've been putting muscle on.
LS - Well, at the beginning of my senior year I was 173 and I'm now 184.

SK - How much more weight do you hope to add by the start of the season?
LS - Probably, another five pounds.

SK - We know going in that your mindset is you are going to be a starter. What are your other goals for this season?
LS - To make the postseason is a big one. Every day I have somebody in my ear down talking UH. So this year is going to be a year to make a statement and prove a lot of people wrong. Put this school back on the map, so to speak. Open people's eyes to our program since it's being overlooked right now.

SK - Gives players a reason to stay home?
LS - Oh yeah.

SK - I know family is important to you and I've seen you play probably 20-25 times. Every time I go see you, there's your mom in the front row with the video camera. She's definitely supportive.
LS - She's my number one fan and supporter. She's been there since the beginning. She always believed in me when no one else did. Whenever I see her over there it gives me a sense of confidence. She probably doesn't know how much it means to me but it really means a lot to have her there.

SK - How is your elbow? Last year you wore a sleeve on it most of the year.
LS - I have bone chips in my elbow and I was talking with John Houston and he's probably going to get me another sleeve so it doesn't swell up if it gets banged or something.

SK - So they aren't going to do surgery?
LS - No, he doesn't think it needs to be operated on right now.

SK - How's summer school going?
LS - Oh real good. A lot more writing than I expected. But since it's a summer course they have to put a bunch of stuff in, in a short period of time. I've adjusted though and it's going good.

SK - And you're taking one class now and then another the next session?
LS - Yes, I'll be taking a math course next session.

SK - Do you have any players staying with you?
LS - Yes, Parker and Elijah are in this apartment with me and Andrew is downstairs from us.

SK - Are you having fun?
LS - Oh yes. We hang out and then go play ball and stuff. It's a lot of fun and we're all looking forward to the season.

Thanks Lanny! We'll talk to you again soon.


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