Al Smith (basketball)
January 15, 1947 |
|Listed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Listed weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
|High school||Manual (Peoria, Illinois)|
|College||Bradley (1966–1968, 1970–1971)|
|NBA draft||1971 / Round: 11 / Pick: 180th overall|
|Selected by the Chicago Bulls|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career ABA statistics|
|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.
Smith was born in Peoria, Illinois. He also attended Manual High School in Peoria. Smith played basketball, football, and baseball at Manual, earning All-State honors in all three sports. 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. Instead of signing with the White Sox, he opted to attend college.
He was given offers to attend USC and Notre Dame, 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. 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. His college success was honored in 2004 when he was selected to Bradley's All-Century team.
In 1971, Smith was drafted by the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls in the 11th round of the NBA Draft; 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. Smith chose to sign with the Rockets, and he would go on to play for the club for three seasons. In his first season, he served as the backup to point guard Larry Brown while averaging nine points and three assists per game.
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. 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.
Before the 1974–1975 season, Smith was traded to the Utah Stars in exchange for a draft pick and cash. 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.
His second season with the Stars lasted only fifteen games before the Stars folded in December. A persistent knee injury eventually ended his career after five seasons. He retired having scored over 3,200 points and having dished out over 1,700 assists.
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.
- "Al Smith Statistics". Sports Reference, LLC. Archived from the original on 21 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- "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.
- "Baseball Draft: 7th Round of the 1965 June Draft". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2008-12-14. Note: Name spelled as Allan Smith in reference.
- Bell, Taylor (2006). Illinois: Legends of Illinois High School Basketball. Sports Publishing, LLC. pp. 63–66. ISBN 1-58261-945-X.
- "Bradley's Best: Al Smith". Peoria Journal Star. 2007-06-25. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- "1971 NBA Draft". Sports Reference, LLC. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- Bradley, Robert and John Grasso. "1967-1976 ABA Drafts". Association for Professional Basketball Research. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- "1971–72 Denver Rockets Statistics". Sports Reference, LLC. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- "1973–74 ABA Expanded Leaders". Sports Reference, LLC. Archived from the original on 22 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- "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.
- Roblez, Matt. "Remember the ABA: Utah Stars". RememberTheABA.com. Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14.