Corey Smith: I have to step up

Corey Smith, a 6-6 senior from Houston, sat down with VandyMania and talked about his goals for the upcoming season. The big Texan is well known for his scrappy style of play and hustle, but may need to become more of a scoring threat if the Dores are to achieve their goals in 2004-05.


VandyMania: You're now a senior and about to start your final season of college basketball. Has it hit you yet?

Corey Smith: I think it has hit me. I feel a lot of pressure, this being the last year. I feel a lot urgency to do whatever I can and do the most that I can for my last season.

VM: Looking at the non-conference schedule for this year, there are a lot of great teams and some tough road games. Talk about this year's schedule and what you think it says about this year's team.

Corey: I think the schedule is a reflection of the type of team we have. In order to be recognized as a good team, you have to play other good teams. Having a lot of home games like we did last year helped us out, because in the past we tended not to be a good

Corey Smith defends against Lehigh. (AP / Mark Humphrey)
road team. But I think we have a lot more toughness in the team this year, and I don't think the road games are going to be as big of a problem.

VM: What parts of your individual game did you work on most this off-season?

Corey: Being more consistent. Throughout the course of last season, I had good games and I had bad games. I'd go on a spurt of two or three games and play bad and then go through two or three games and play well. I'm working on trying to be more consistent on the court, someone the coach can count on on a night-to-night basis, instead of him guessing whether I'm going to show up or not. You've got put all your effort in, off the court, outside of practice – do everything you can to make sure you can perform when game time comes.

VM: What's your role in the offense this season?

Corey: I have to step up and be more reliable to score points than I was last year. Last year my role wasn't really to score points. It was to rebound and play defense, do the other things that the team needed. This year, I have to be more consistent in scoring points and doing what the coach needs each night.

VM: Are NCAA's the goal for this season?

Corey: Definitely. Since we made it to the Sweet 16 last year, we set the standard for what we want to do here in the Vanderbilt basketball program. We want to get back there this year and hopefully we can get there and then progress on from there. Elite Eight, Final Four – that would be great.

Corey Smith pumps before shot vs. Mississippi State in the 2004 SEC Tournament. (VandyMania / Bryan Hufalar)

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