The son of former six-year NBA veteran Joe Smith, 6-foot-6 Amir is arguably the most athletic player on FAU’s roster, allowing him to come off the bench to spell center Ronald Delph, power forward William Pfister or even small forward Jailyn Ingram.
“If Amir keeps rebounding and defending the way he is, he’s able and capable of pitching the basketball around on the offensive end, that’s kind of what we asked for him on the offensive stand point,” Curry said. “I think he will continue to stay in the rotation.”
In recent weeks Curry tried to simplify Smith’s role, which led to the junior feeling more comfortable – and more aggressive.
Smith is now arriving early for practice and taking ice baths afterward to help his body respond quicker.
“I had the best practice of my life this week,” Smith said. “I’m not even joking.”
With Delph in foul trouble against Charlotte, Smith scored a career-high 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in an FAU win. His alley oop dunk off a half-court pass that few in the gym believed he could reach in that game is one of the highlights of FAU’s season.
Smith didn’t score in the loss to ODU, but he snatched five rebounds – and one of his two blocks proved to be another highlight.
“[Smith] brings a lot of energy and excitement with his energy on the court,” point guard Payton Hulsey said. “Smith helps this defense prevent guys from getting to the basket.”
Smith expects to see himself get more minutes in future games.
“It all depends on me,” Smith said. “I have to come in for practice, I have to be ready, I have to do what I did this week, every week.”
- FAU is a much improved team when it comes to rebounding. Even in a loss against Old Dominion, the Owls managed to out-rebound the Monarchs 37-29. For the season, FAU averages a little more than one rebound per game than its opponents. “Our rebound margin compared to the past, it’s not even close,” Curry said.
- The Owls need to improve on handling the basketball. FAU committed 21 turnovers against Old Dominion. A few turnovers came from fatigued players. “Have to avoid doing too much at certain stages of the game,” Curry said.
- A somewhat unique way for the Owls to be successful on the road is to drive, rather than fly, in between games. After Thursday night’s game at North Texas the Owls will take an approximately four-hour bus ride to Houston for Saturday’s game against Rice. This will be the Owls’ first bus trip of the season. Curry believes busing, as opposed to flying, provides less of an interruption to the players’ schedule than flying. The team relaxes on the bus, can do homework or watch NBA games, and doesn’t have to wake up early to catch a flight.
- FAU needs to get to the free throw line more in order to win. In the loss versus Old Dominion, the Owls shot 11 free throws compared to 30 free throws that the Monarchs shot. A more aggressive approach offensively, a point of emphasis for Curry, should lead to more trips to the line.
Around C-USA: There is no longer an undefeated team in Conference USA, as both Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky lost a game. There’s now a three-way tie atop C-USA’s standings between MTSU, WKU and ODU. MTSU defeated WKU 66-62 on Saturday. At 3-4, FAU currently resides in a four-way tie for seventh.
Working Women: The FAU women’s basketball team split their weekend series, losing to UTEP but picking up a win against Louisiana Tech. In the win at home, Sasha Cedeno put up a stellar performance, scoring 30 of the Owls’ 86 points in a blowout win. The Lady Owls return to the court on Thursday at UTSA.
Game Of The Week: In North Texas, FAU faces one of the teams it’s tied with in Conference USA play. Thursday’s game, which tips off at 8 p.m. can be viewed on ESPN3.