Ole Miss basketball signee profile
One of the starters off of Laurinburg's squad, Mike Smith, inked with the Rebels in the fall. We were able to catch up with Laurinburg's head coach, Chris Chaney.
He had the following things to say about Mike:
Tell us about your season this year. "We had a great group of guys, probably our best ever. We had 14 kids sign D1 in the early signing period, and we will have 4 more in the late signing period."
How did Mike Smith progress this season? "He was one of our most improved players, without a doubt. He was not a great player when he got here because of his conditioning, but he put a lot of effort in getting himself into great shape. He lost close to 40 pounds which really made a difference. He started the last 10 regular season games for us, and he started in the National Championship game for us. Mike had a lot of big time games for us. All of our starters will go on to have successful careers on the next level. They are all big time players and Mike is no different."
What were his stats for the season? "I do not want to tell you wrong, but I think he averaged 10.2 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists for us. To average those numbers speaks for itself. You have to remember, we have an 18 man rotation. Not many kids come through here averaging those type of numbers. There is only one ball and so many great players."
What most did Mike improve on this year? "His conditioning. Like I said earlier, he went from 280 when he got here to 240. It made a world of a difference. When he got here, he had great game, but he could not play at that high level for very long because he would tire out. I told him the first day of practice that he would get lost on the bench if he did not work hard on his conditioning. I mean, the kid had all of the tools, but I am not sure if he had the dedication it took to bring them tools out. Once he decided that he really wanted it, the light just came on. And besides, it helped playing against the players he had to face in practice day in and day out. Competing against the best in practice made it a walk in the park during the actual games."
What are Mike's strengths on the court? "He is very versatile. Mike has a great feel for the game. He has good offensive moves. Very quick for a big man. He can score in a variety of ways and run the floor very well for a big man. Mike was actually a good three point shooter, but he was so unselfish. He rarely took them. He will bring a lot to the table for Coach Barnes. I think the Mississippi fans will be surprised at how good he really is."
What will Mike have to work on for the college level? "I think he is ready for that level right now. Ole Miss wants him to play a couple of different positions. He will be ready after a summer with them."
Which position did you play Mike? "Power forward."
What is Mike's actually size? "We measured him at 6' 8" and he weighed 240 right before the championship game."
How are Mike's academics? "He is going good. He goes to class everyday and does what he has to do. He will be fine academically. You will not have to worry about his grades. Mike is a great kid to be around. He will represent Mississippi in a class manner. They are getting themselves a good one."
The following information comes from Mike Smith's head coach at Jacksonville High, Jerry Wilson:
Tell us about Mike Smith'g game? "He is the most complete player I have ever coached. In the three years I had him, he grew so much. He blossomed into an inside/outside threat. He can run the floor, bang down low, shoot the 3. He has it all. I think he can be an impact player on the next level. I saw him during Spring break. He was here in our gym working every day. He has lost a lot of weight, a lot of weight. That was really the only thing that held him back in high school, was his conditioning. Mike could get gased sometimes. In high school, he did not know how good he could be, but now, he does. He is ready to take his game to the next level."
What are Mike's strengths? "Shooting, rebounding, and blocking shots. Look, this kid can shoot it from outside, post you down low, or block your shot. He is the total package. He can do it all."
What will he need to work on for the next level? "Probably, defense. It is not that he is lacking. He can play defense. It is just according to which Mike shows up, but. I have no doubt that Coach Barnes can bring out the best in Mike."