Al Smith (basketball)

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Al Smith
No. 10, 20
Point guard
Personal information
Born (1947-01-15) January 15, 1947 (age 67)
Peoria, Illinois
Listed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school Manual (Peoria, Illinois)
College Bradley (1966–1968, 1970–1971)
NBA draft 1971 / Round: 11 / Pick: 180th overall
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Pro career 1971–1976
Career history
1971–1974 Denver Rockets
1974–1975 Utah Stars
Career highlights and awards
  • ABA assist leader (1974)
  • 2× first team All-MVC (1968, 1971)
Career ABA statistics
Points 3,298
Assists 1,793
Rebounds 865
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Alan Richard "Al" Smith (born January 15, 1947) is a retired basketball player who played for five seasons in the American Basketball Association. A point guard during his career, he played for the Denver Rockets and Utah Stars and once led the ABA in assists in a season.

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Peoria, Illinois. He also attended Manual High School in Peoria.[1] Smith played basketball, football, and baseball at Manual, earning All-State honors in all three sports.[2] His baseball skill was such that the Chicago White Sox drafted him in the 7th round of the inaugural Major League Baseball Draft in 1965.[3] Instead of signing with the White Sox, he opted to attend college.

He was given offers to attend USC and Notre Dame,[4] but he chose to attend Bradley University as a basketball and baseball player. Smith spent four years at Bradley, though his time in college was interrupted by a two-year stint in the United States Army.[5] As a college basketball player, he scored over 1,000 points for Bradley and was named first team All-Missouri Valley Conference in 1971 during his senior season.[5] His college success was honored in 2004 when he was selected to Bradley's All-Century team.[4]

Denver Rockets[edit]

In 1971, Smith was drafted by the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls in the 11th round of the NBA Draft;[6] previously, he was also drafted by the Bulls in the 10th round of the 1969 draft. He was also a 4th round draft pick of the American Basketball Association's Denver Rockets (now the NBA's Nuggets) in a separate draft.[7] Smith chose to sign with the Rockets, and he would go on to play for the club for three seasons.[1] In his first season, he served as the backup to point guard Larry Brown[8] while averaging nine points and three assists per game.[1]

Smith became the Rockets' regular point guard during the 1972–1973 season after Brown took a job as head coach. He scored a career-best eleven-plus points per game in his second season, while averaging five-and-a-half assists per game.[1] His scoring decreased slightly in the 1973–1974 season but he went on to average eight assists per game, and would lead the ABA in assists.[9]

Utah Stars[edit]

Before the 1974–1975 season, Smith was traded to the Utah Stars in exchange for a draft pick and cash.[10] In his first season with the Stars, he averaged a career-low eight points per game, while also averaging four-and-a-half assists per contest.[1]

His second season with the Stars lasted only fifteen games before the Stars folded in December.[11] A persistent knee injury eventually ended his career after five seasons.[5] He retired having scored over 3,200 points and having dished out over 1,700 assists.[1]

Post-basketball life[edit]

Smith went on to become a social worker in Denver, also working at a cable television supply company. For a year-and-a-half, he served as an assistant head coach at Manual High School, helping lead the school to two state championships. As of 2007, Smith was working in Paterson, New Jersey, as a school counselor.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Al Smith Statistics". Sports Reference, LLC. Archived from the original on 21 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  2. ^ "Al Smith - Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame". Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 25 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  3. ^ "Baseball Draft: 7th Round of the 1965 June Draft". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  Note: Name spelled as Allan Smith in reference.
  4. ^ a b Bell, Taylor (2006). Illinois: Legends of Illinois High School Basketball. Sports Publishing, LLC. pp. 63–66. ISBN 1-58261-945-X. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Bradley's Best: Al Smith". Peoria Journal Star. 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  6. ^ "1971 NBA Draft". Sports Reference, LLC. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  7. ^ Bradley, Robert and John Grasso. "1967-1976 ABA Drafts". Association for Professional Basketball Research. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  8. ^ "1971–72 Denver Rockets Statistics". Sports Reference, LLC. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  9. ^ "1973–74 ABA Expanded Leaders". Sports Reference, LLC. Archived from the original on 22 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  10. ^ "Remember the ABA: Anaheim Amigos/Los Angeles Stars/Utah Stars Year-by-Year Notes". RememberTheABA.com. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  11. ^ Roblez, Matt. "Remember the ABA: Utah Stars". RememberTheABA.com. Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14.