The Tallest Player to Ever Play at Illinois - Nick

Nick Smith is a 7-2 center that has been a struggle to coach. He's the smartest kid, the tallest kid, and one of the best shooters on the team, but at times one of the toughest to coach. Read here for Nick's favorite team he likes to beat and why.

Kedric:
Tell me what you did in the off-season. Coach said you came into the gym a lot to work on your game.

Nick:
Just little things, nothing major - working on my shot and working on things in the low-post. Nothing too major, just a few things he wanted me to work on.

Kedric:
Nick, every year you put on weight and somehow you lose it. Can you keep it on this year?

Nick:
I didn't lose as much as in years past. Last year was a good year for me. Last season I only lost about 10, but prior years we're talking 20 pounds or so. Right now even if I lost 10 this year, it wouldn't affect my game too much.

Kedric:
Coach Weber said two guys really understood his system early and still have pretty good success with it: you and Deron. Why is that?

Nick:
I think it's easiest for Deron and me just because we really understand the game a little better than everyone else. Deron is very, very smart - especially on the basketball court. He understands what to do and how to get things done. I'm a little the same way. I can't do it physically as well as he can, but I really do understand it. For me I know where people are and where they should be with this offense. Some of the other guys will come around. The key is working on it to understand it.

Kedric:
Nick, Coach talked about you basically beating up Shaun Pruitt in practice. I can remember watching guys like Marcus Griffin and Brian Cook work you until you were beet red. How is Shaun holding up?

Nick:
The young guys are holding on pretty well. They don't have a clue what the hell is going on and how to get things done, but that's to be expected from young guys. They have a lot of work to do. I would have to say Calvin is fairly ahead of the game right now. Calvin is small right now, but in time he will gain weight. He's so athletic that once he learns the game he's going to be pretty good, I think. Shaun, on the other hand, has a lot to learn. Big guys, for whatever reason, take a little longer to adjust.

Kedric:
Nick, you want to win every game, but name the one team you would like to beat more than any team out there right now.

Nick:
I want to win at Wisconsin. If we win there I would have to say we are having a successful Big Ten season. We need to break that streak up there. Also, it would be nice to win at MSU. But from a personal standpoint it would be awesome to win in Madison. You know there are fans up there that love me and I show them much love also.

Kedric:
Thanks, Nick, and have a great senior year.

Nick:
I plan to, and thanks for the interview.


Illini Inquirer Top Stories