He shook hands with media members during the game. He roamed both ends of the court observing the action. He even spent part of the second half on the radio with UK play-by-play announcer Tom Leach.
And what didn't he do? He didn't yell. He let the players play -- and that could help this team more than anything if he can give them more freedom.
"Coach Smith did yell a little, but not much and certainly not like past years," senior forward Sheray Thomas said. "He's been a lot more encouraging, and was again today. We have been doing well in practice to this point and playing hard. He recognizes that and appreciates that." Perhaps Smith's attitude is why so many more veteran players looked confident and relaxed on offense during the intrasquad scrimmage.
Bobby Perry looked like he had never seen a shot he didn't like. Joe Crawford drove fearlessly inside. Ramel Bradley didn't hesitate to shoot, including a running, left-handed leaner he banged off the backboard. "But I can make that shot," Bradley smiled and said. But the key here was that Smith didn't explode when he took and missed the shot. Instead, he let him play.
"Coach is being a lot better about that this year," Perry said. "He's encouraging us to look for our shots and take them with confidence." "Our offense was better today because everyone is more confident," Thomas said. "If you are open, coach Smith wants you to shoot and shoot with confidence. As a player, that's what you want to feel. You could see that confidence carry over to the way we played today."
Was that confidence missing last year?
"It's just a different attitude this year. It's something coach Smith has emphasized and we are taking to heart. I think you will see a much more confident team all year," Thomas said. "But a lot of that is because everybody is coming to practice ready to work every day. Nobody is complaining about anything. It's a little different than last year."
And considering that UK lost 13 games last year, it's good to know it is different because it needed to be.