Not only has Smith had elite success, but he has prepared his players to have all the skills necessary to make the jump to the next level. Smith has sent 19 players to the NBA during his coaching career. That list includes 2008 NBA Champion Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics as well as Jodie Meeks, Chuck Hayes, Shandon Anderson, Nazr Mohammed, Tayshaun Prince, Scott Padgett, Jamaal Magloire, Kelenna Azubuike and Keith Bogans. Other Smith players to reach the NBA include Shea Seals, Wayne Turner, Michael Ruffin, Erik Daniels, Randolph Morris, Gerald Fitch, Jeff Sheppard, Joe Crawford and Michael Bradley.
The opportunity to play in the NBA was particularly sweet for Rondo, Prince and Anderson, who all realized the dream of winning NBA titles. Rondo was the starting point guard for the Celtics as they made their championship run in 2008 while Prince was an integral part of the 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons. Anderson was part of a veteran group of players on the Miami Heat who claimed the 2006 NBA Championship.
Nine of the players Smith has sent to the NBA heard their names called on draft day. Rondo, Magloire, Mohammed, Padgett and Prince were each first round draft picks, while Anderson, Bogans, Meeks and Ruffin each went in the second round. Prince was also a member of the United States basketball team that won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
A 1973 graduate of High Point (N.C.) College, Smith was an all-conference performer as a senior before finishing his career as the seventh all-time leading scorer in school history. Smith, who earned his degree in health and physical education, was honored on Dec. 8, 2011, by his alma mater with a banner bearing his name that now hangs from the rafters at the Millis Center.
Smith is the sixth of 17 children raised on a rural farm in southern Maryland. He and his wife Donna, have three sons, a daughter-in-law and granddaughter: Orlando (G.G.) Smith, who is an assistant coach at Loyola College in Maryland and his wife Lorie and granddaughter Jayna Marie; Saul Smith, who previously worked under his father as an assistant coach at Minnesota; and Brian Smith, an Ole Miss graduate, who is presently working as an assistant athletic director, boys basketball coach and physical education teacher at Rancho Solano Private Schools in Peoria, Ariz.
Information for this story from Texas Tech Athletics.