When Josh Smith announced he was transferring from UCLA, I wasn’t surprised, considering the lack of support he received in helping him lose weight as well as his struggles on the court. Now the 6-10 big man is heading across the country to play for Georgetown.
The news broke earlier this week and was confirmed by Smith’s AAU coach. It’s quite a gamble for a player who’s been born and raised on the West Coast – Smith spent his prep days in Washington – but a big one considering Georgetown’s history with big men.
My hope is that Smith finds peace away from Westwood. I had the opinion that the louder the chorus grew on his struggles with his weight, he shrank inwardly and never was comfortable after his freshman year. The former McDonald’s All-American never lived up to his potential and instead became a frequent target of criticism.
Nevertheless, a change of scenery might do him good. Knowing how excellent a motivator Georgetown coach John Thompson III is, he’ll get all the support he needs and a coaching staff willing to work with him as well as push him to push himself further.
That last point is key because Smith needs to look in the mirror and ask himself “What more can I do?” He has NBA talent and size, but needs to prove he has the mental toughness and drive to make it. The Big East is the perfect place to either harden your resolve or watch it crumble against more physical teams.
Considering the track record of ex-Bruins who have performed well after leaving the program, I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith performs well at Georgetown. He’s got one year to prove himself and he has all the reasons to remind fans why he was a prep All-American just a few years ago.