Steve Smith Q & A

BBN Media got an opportunity to talk with Steve Smith, the head coach of perennial high school power Oak Hill Academy, during the Derby Festival Classic. The Kentucky native spoke openly about his college rooting interest, Lebron James, and the UK signees.

BBN: Coach Smith you're a Kentucky native. How does it feel to be back in your home state coaching the Derby Festival Classic?

SS: It's a whole lot of fun. This is the fifth time I've had the opportunity to coach this game. I enjoy coming back. Many of my family members will be in attendance, so it will be a fun weekend for me.

BBN: You're coaching all 3 UK signees in this game. What have been your impressions of each player?

SS: You know I've only been around each player a brief amount of time. what I like about them is that they are good kids and that's very important in any program. Sheray Thomas is very athletic; he can play inside and out. He also shoots the ball extremely well for a big man and can rebound with anybody. Bobby Perry is more of a wing type player. He's also athletic, he can run and jump. Once he gets a little more consistent with his outside shot, he's going to be a very good player. Shagari Alleyne is 7'3" and you just can't coach that. He's going to be good. He needs to put some weight on and get stronger. There are some things he needs to work on, but he realizes that. He's going to be a good player at UK though. There aren't many players with that type of size.

BBN: Are these three players the type of athletes that can come in and make an immediate contribution next season?

SS: Oh yeah, I think they all can play and contribute as freshman. I know they all will want to. UK lost 3 guys in – Jules, Bogans, and Estill – so I can expect them to come in and get some minutes. They're all emotionally ready to play as freshmen. They're also physically mature enough to play. It's mostly up to them when they get there.

BBN: I recently heard a tremendous stat that reflects well upon your program. Oak Hill has had at least one of its players participate in the last 10 Final Fours. What does that mean to you as a coach?

SS: We're very proud of that and we're proud of the players that have made that possible. It's been 10 straight years and the last three years we've had a kid on the winning team. This season Carmello Anthony, who played for us, was voted the Most Outstanding Player and led Syracuse to the National Championship. He played great for Syracuse as a freshman. He might have played better than any freshman ever has in the tournament.

BBN: Coach Smith I know you've sent players to schools all over the United States. But being a Kentucky native, are you biased toward UK at all?

SS: I stay out of the recruiting process as much as possible. I do root for UK though. There is a UK blanket in my living room and I root hard for them on television. But I don't get involved with recruiting. However, if a player decides to go to UK, I shake his hand and I'm happy about it.

BBN: Okay, I'm going to put you on the spot. You're a GM for an NBA franchise and you have the first pick in the draft. Do you select Carmello Anthony, who played for you at Oak Hill, or Lebron James, who you played against the last couple of years, with the first pick?

SS: I'm taking Lebron to sell tickets. In my heart, I'd take Carmello because I think he's got a great feel for the game and a better mental understanding of the game right now. But what Lebron's got, athletically he's 6'6, 225 lbs., you just can't coach. He also moves exceptionally well without the basketball. It's a tough decision. As a coach I would take Carmello, but as a GM I would take Lebron.

AllWildcats Top Stories