Tyler Smith Talks About Turning Pro

Iowa hasn't see the likes of a Tyler Smith since Ricky Davis was a freshman at Iowa back in the late 1990's. Davis turned pro after his rookie season at Iowa, and was drafted in the first round. Tyler Smith was asked about the NBA question today, and we have his answers...

Q: (Joking) Were you upset that Adam (Haluska) got player of the week and not you?

Tyler Smith: No. He deserved it. HE put up two great performances and helped us come back and win against Michigan. He was just hot Saturday against Indiana.

Q: Do you see teams defending him differently, maybe putting emphasis on stopping him?

Smith: I think every team tries to do that, but Adam comes off of screens well, we try to get him open and he gets his shots.

Q: Coach Alford was saying that Coach Neal spent a lot of time recruiting you. What is your relationship like with Coach Neal?

Smith: I saw him as many times as he could come. My relationship with him is great, not only as a coach and player but as a friend. I like to get to know the coaches, not like it would have been at Tennessee. He was great in recruiting me and he was a friend. That was a big factor in my picking Iowa; having that relationship with him coming in and Coach Alford as well. He is a great person.

Q: What sold you on Coach Neal?

Smith: He came to me as, like I said, as a friend. He didn't sell me a lot of dreams like other schools. He just came to me, talking to me as a person, not talking about basketball all the time. That is what I really liked.

Q: There has been some chatter about you turning pro after this year. What kind of things do you think you need to work on?

Smith: I have a lot of things I need to work on. My outside shooting, ball handling, just a lot of little things. As far as that, I am not considering that at this point at all.

Q: You seemed to scoff at that (the mention of turning pro after this year); will you be back next year?

Smith: Oh yeah, for sure. For sure.

Q: You and your teammates are ready to hit road again, where teams will be taking shots at you guys now; you probably won't be the underdog in some of these games anymore.

Smith: We prepare hard, we finally got that road win against Michigan and we want to keep things rolling and play up to our abilities.

Q: What are the keys to playing well on the road?

Smith: Coming together as a team. Not individual things, plus we have to get Adam open; that would be one good thing. Just playing together.

Q: Your hometown, Pulaski, Tennessee, has about 8,000 people in it. How do you become a great player in a small town?

Smith: Just trying to work on my game every day, not trying to go out and do the typical things that teenagers would do. My father helped me out a lot, my mother helped me out. So did a lot of people.

Q: Who could you measure yourself against?

Smith: The older guys who were pretty good in high school; the ones that made it to college and didn't finish college.

Q: When Kentucky offered, how did you say no to them?

Smith: I never wanted to go to a school based on their name. I wanted to go to a school that recruited me well, where I knew the coaches well and getting into a great opportunity.

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