If you have been an avid follower of CSU basketball the past few years, you may be wondering where the high-energy junior guard Dwight Smith has been all year.
Smith has been on the bench this year after receiving a redshirt at the beginning of the season from new head coach Larry Eustachy and has had to adjust to a new role of helping the Rams and older brother Greg Smith get better during practices.
The redshirt may have been a blessing in disguise for Dwight Smith, as a recurring ankle injury hampered his development at the beginning of the off-season.
“Seeing a lot of games from the sideline perspective and a different practice perspective actually helped me a lot more than I think I would probably trying to play through stuff or trying to play straight out (this year)” Dwight Smith said. “So I think this actually made me a lot better.”
Though the redshirt year for Dwight Smith may have made him a better player, it prohibits him from playing out this season with Greg Smith, who will be graduating in May.
The news had to be bittersweet for both brothers as they have developed a rapport with one another on and off the court through the years.
“We’re real close,” Greg Smith said. “We’re pretty much always together, doing everything together and we’re just really close brothers. We’re 15 months apart so . …we’ve been through it all.”
The bond between Greg and Dwight Smith could be seen back when they were in elementary school, when the two could be seen bouncing basketballs around the park while their late father, Gregory Smith was busy umpiring softball games.
Ralston (Neb.) High School basketball coach Bill Heard met the two brothers back when they were on those fields and according to him, not much has changed between the two since then.
“Their personalities then are very similar to what they are now,” Heard said. “They’re just kind of gym rats and were in and around the game all the time. Greg was always the one that worked the softball teams to get some extra money to go get foul balls and Dwight was the more reserved one, so they haven’t changed a ton.”
The Smith brothers went on from those parks in Omaha, Neb. to play together for coach Heard at Ralston while showing off their physical talents on the floor.
Both brothers won a Class B state championship with the team.
Dwight Smith became the first player in Ralston history to start in every game during his high school career and Greg Smith was named Nebraska’s “Mr. Basketball,” an award given to the best player in the state.
Then both brothers decided to join the CSU after then-CSU coach Tim Miles recruited the two.
“I was recruiting (Nebraska native) Jesse (Carr) when (I was) at North Dakota State, and then that just kind of led to us seeing Greg and Dwight,” Miles said.
And after four years and a combined 1,188 points scored between the two, the investment has paid off and both Smiths expect that to continue in the next two years after Greg Smith graduates.
“He’s gonna kind of give them some experience that you wouldn’t think a young Rams team is gonna have (next year),” Greg Smith said. “He’s really grown into a leader with these guys too.”
Assistant Editor Andrew Schaller can be reached at email@example.com