March 8, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins center Joshua Smith (34) reacts after being fouled out against the Arizona Wildcats during the second round of the 2012 Pac 12 Tournament in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

New Georgetown Hoya Josh Smith - Big Potential but Needs to Lose Big Body


Position: Center

Size: 6-foot-10 300+ pounds

School transferring from: UCLA Bruins

Career statistics:

Freshman season: 33 games played, 21.7 minutes, 10.9 points, 6.3 rebounds

Sophomore season: 32 games played, 17.2 minutes, 9.9 points, 4.9 rebounds

Junior season: 6 games played, 13.5 minutes, 5.2 points, 4.2 rebounds

How he will fit in:

Back in high school Smith had all the potential in the world. As a McDonald’s All-American with the big body and skill set he possessed, he was a top 30 recruit in the 2010 class that was expected to play in the NBA someday. Smith had a solid freshman season with 10.9 points and 6.3 rebounds in just over 21 minutes per game, but that proved to be the peak of his UCLA career.

Smith’s big body continued to get bigger and bigger, making it difficult for him to stay on the court for long stretches. Many questioned his work ethic – his weight was on the rise with no evidence at an attempt at conditioning to combat the issue. There were reports that Smith’s weight had ballooned all they up into the 370 pound area. During his recruitment process he was tagged in the 305-320 range.

“He’s a big-bodied kid and he’s still carrying some considerable baby fat. However, he moves well in spite of that extra weight. He’s also got great hands. He catches anything that comes near him. His feel around the basket is advanced and he’s got a nice touch in the 10-12 foot range. He gets up a little better than you might expect and that only figures to improve as he tones up and his body matures. With continued development, he’s a potential elite prospect.” – analyst Greg Hicks back in 2007 during Smith’s recruitment process

Smith’s talent around the basket never diminished, even with the additional weight, but getting up and down the court proved too much for him. He saw his playing time dip to 17 minutes (from over 21) and then to 13.5 in his sophomore and junior seasons respectably. Smith went from a top prospect to a role player who could only play in short bursts solely because he couldn’t transition from offense to defense and defense to offense more than a few times before becoming fatigued.

Josh only played in six games last season, his junior year at UCLA, before deciding to transfer. A month later he chose Georgetown over Kansas.

Smith is still a fine prospect with an immense amount of potential, but it’s all about him getting into playing shape. I’d imagine that he and the coaching staff at Georgetown are hard at work at making that happen, but only time and footage of him will tell.

If he can in fact return to the low 300s, but more ideally below 300, then Georgetown could have a star on their hands. If not, then no big deal. The Hoyas still have a very good front court that consists of Mikael Hopkins at center, and Nate Lubick, Greg Whittington, Aaron Bowen, Stephen Domingo and Moses Ayegba as forwards. There is a lot of talent there, but nothing like what Smith could bring to the table. A tank-like build with nimble feet and a scoring touch equals a significant advantage at the college level.

Also, Smith’s eligibility situation is still uncertain. Reports suggest that he could sit the first semester this year, play the second semester and hope to be granted an additional year for next season. Or, he could sit out the entire 2013-14 season, but be eligible for the entire 2014-15 season. Reports suggest he will be in a Georgetown uniform this upcoming season somewhere towards the end of December.

Josh Smith is a wild card, a potential game-changer, and a player that could catapult Georgetown into a national title contender. But to become that player changes need to be made.  Will the fit Josh Smith with NBA talent please stand up?

Tags: Basketball Big East Conference Georgetown Hoyas Josh Smith

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