My fellow basketball blogger Dave Mann and I just returned from San Antonio, where we saw the preseason battle between the Spurs and last year's NBA champions, the Miami Heat. It was a decent preseason game, one that Dave will tell you all about, but I'd like to focus for a moment on an element of the game of some local interest: former Toro Jamar Smith.
Smith, a six-foot-eight-inch forward out of the University of (the great state of) Maryland, appeared in 48 games for the Toros last year, averaging 11.4 points and 7.2 rebounds in close to 29 minutes. Then this past summer he was called by the Spurs to play in the summer league Rocky Mountain Revue, where they must have liked what they saw because on Sept. 15 the team signed him to a training-camp contract. Now he's battling the odds and several other hungry guys for the few available roster spots in San Antonio.
Smith didn't get into tonight's game until the fourth quarter, at which point he promptly picked up a foul, a charge underneath the basket after a nifty little move to get past his man on the perimeter. For the rest of the game, Smith played solid defense but was quiet on the offensive end, content to stand at either of the two corners waiting for passes that weren't coming. He may have been playing possum, though, because with about 15 seconds left in the game, following a three-point miss by rookie guard Charles Lee, Smith came tearing in from the perimeter with a powerful put-back slam dunk that shook the rim and garnered the "Ohs" and "Ahs" of the rapidly retreating crowd. Smith was also fouled on the play, and he made his free throw, good for his third point of the night, right on target for his preseason average of 2.7 a game. All in all, a quiet night for our Toro-made-good. We'll keep our fingers crossed for him.
In one other quick bit of Toros news, Marcus Fizer, last year's D-league MVP, injured his leg while playing with his new Spanish-league team, Polaris World Club Baloncesto Murcia. Doctors say he'll be sidelined at least four weeks with a fibrous fracture. On the bright side, he lives in Spain, which must be nice.
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