Chris Smith RumorsAll NBA Players
The Pac-12 Conference’s most improved player could become its most valuable. Chris Smith is returning to UCLA for his senior season, putting off the NBA for one more chance to continue his dramatic upward college trajectory. Sean Smith, Chris’ father, made the announcement Monday. “Chris is returning to school due to too much uncertainty on both sides of the coin,” said Sean Smith, alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic that led to the cancellation of workouts for NBA prospects and a delayed draft. “He’ll finish his degree and work to improve in the areas he needs to improve on.”
Fifty-six basketball players from around the world showed up to the Brooklyn Nets’ practice facility in early December with the same goal: become a player in Basketball Africa League’s inaugural season that will begin in March 2020. Some players are entering fresh from their college hoops days, while others have had stints in the NBA, G League, and international leagues. For Chris Smith, a 32-year-old former NBA player and brother to veteran guard JR Smith, participating in BAL’s two-day scouting combine meant a shot at redemption. He wants another chance at the NBA.
“It is history in the making, but it is a rebirth for me,” Smith told USA TODAY Sports. “It reminds me of my younger days playing for the Knicks. This league will give me the opportunity that I didn’t have in the younger stages of my career.”
According to Smith, this league is going to work because of the talent involved and “today everyone is looking for what is new… a lot of players are looking for a new outlet. This gives you a new opportunity to build a brand globally.”
Now he hopes to make one of the BAL’s 16-man rosters, and then prove himself from there. “Personally, to be a face for this league, it would mean everything to me,” Smith said. “I had shortcomings in my beginning stages in the league (NBA) but here I have a fair chance of proving I am an elite player.”