May 6, 2014
RUSTON - The 2014-15 college basketball season is still about six months away from tipping off, but national publications are already previewing the top teams and top returning players.
ESPN recently released a top five list of the best passers and the best all-around point guards for next year and making both was Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Smith.
The senior-to-be is coming off a monster year where he was the only player in Division I ranked in the top 25 in assist/turnover ratio, assists per game and steals per game. He actually finished ranked in the top 10 in all of those categories -- second in APG (7.7), ninth in SPG (2.50) and 10th in A/TO ratio (3.23).
Smith wound up shattering program records for most assists in a single season and most steals in a single season all while leading the Bulldogs to a share of the Conference USA regular season title, a runner-up finish in the C-USA Tournament and an appearance in the NIT quarterfinals.
"Folks in Ruston, La., call him `Speedy,' but whatever he's referred to as, his name belongs in any conversation of elite college point guards," said ESPN's C.J. Brown. "The rising senior is joined by three other returning starters and makes the Bulldogs one of those experienced teams the power conferences don't want to face."
LA Tech fans from across the south have long been amazed by the havoc Speedy creates on defense and the passing magic he displays on offense. Head coach Michael White has even repeatedly said that he thinks Smith is the best passer in all of college basketball. Others are starting to take notice as well.
"Smith is a pass-first, aggressive, high-energy attacking point guard who sees the floor," said ESPN's Seth Greenberg. "He knows who he is and plays to his strengths. He looks to push the ball in transition and does an excellent job of finding spot-up 3-point shooters.
Even though dishing the ball to his teammates and taking the ball from his opponent are his specialties, Speedy can certainly pad the stat sheets with his scoring and rebounding abilities as well.
No example was better than the NIT matchup versus the very tall and athletic Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee. The undersized point guard posted his team-leading fifth double-double of the year with 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
Smith was honored with numerous awards for his junior year, being named first team All-Conference USA, member of the C-USA All-Defensive team, C-USA Defensive Player of the Year, member of the C-USA All-Tournament team, NABC first team All-Conference USA, second team All-LSWA and was named to the Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America team.
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