The last two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion for 2015 Arizona Wildcat commit Ray Smith and his family. Two weeks ago, Smith tore his ACL and was carried off the court at Adidas Unrivaled in Chicago.
We were at the Lebron James Skills academy in Las Vegas when word started to trickle in that Ray had been injured. Sean Miller was watching Ivan Rabb and if he knew about Ray’s injury he was hiding it with his best poker face.
Fifteen minutes later, Sean Miller exited the Cashman Center in Las Vegas with a concerned look on his face and phone in hand. His next calls had to be to Damon Stoudamire or Ray’s father, Bobby.
To Arizona’s credit, when Ray went down they didn’t blink and became even more candid in their pursuit of him. They immediately assured Ray that they would accept his commitment and be there for him throughout his rehab until the time he arrives on campus in June of 2015. Ray believed them and two days after one of the worst days of his life, he committed to the University of Arizona.
“I wanted to turn that weekend into a positive,” Smith told PGU. “It was always going to be Arizona anyways. Damon and Sean have always been straightforward with me so I knew I could trust them. Many coaches aren’t like that.”
Smith didn’t want to bother with recruiting after his injury and that played a significant part in the timing of his commitment. However, Smith would have likely committed to Arizona at an upcoming Adidas event or early in the fall.
Last Saturday, Smith had surgery to repair his torn ACL in Las Vegas. The surgery was a success and it was also determined that Ray’s category of injury has one of the highest recovery rates. Arizona fans couldn’t have asked for better news because Smith should come back stronger than ever.
Two days after surgery, Ray began rehab at one of the top facilities in Nevada. The sports therapy center Ray is rehabbing at has worked with athletes throughout the NBA, NFL and many other professional organizations.
Smith will rehab every day for about a week and a half and then rehab a few times a week. He should be able to walk in about 6 weeks. He already has motion in his knee and can bend it to a certain degree.
We’ve spoken with Ray several time since the injury and he’s never shown his frustration once in the last two weeks.
“I get mad but you’ll never see it,” Smith told PGU. “You’ll only see me smile. I want to be role model and I know little kids in Vegas look up to me. I have a responsibility to them. You can’t let those people down. I want them to remember that Ray Smith was always smiling regardless of the situation.”
How many kids say that two days after ACL surgery?
A few days ago I was discussing the 2015 starting lineup for the Arizona Wildcats with Bobby Smith. I made a remark that the small forward position was Ray’s in 2015.
Ray quickly interrupted our conversation and said, “Can you please use the word is?”
It’s hard not to love Rekwon Smith.