Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at 12:41 pm  |  22 responses

Josh Smith at The Mission Prep Classic

Meet the country’s No. 1 junior big man.

Words by Justin Walsh

Basketball analysts aren’t afraid to throw around monikers like “man-beast,” “baby-Shaq,” and the overused phrase “he has a great motor.” Every time Digger Phelps and Jay Bilas throw those around the scouting reports, most basketball people roll their eyes and find reason to down on the kid. Don’t let that happen with Josh Smith.

Josh is huge. Right now he’s 6-10, 270 pounds, so he’s bigger than just about everybody he plays. Hell, in kindergarten, he was taller than his teacher—Smith was already 5-feet tall. Allow yourself to be immersed in the many “man amongst boys” lines that Brent Musburger shouts to the nation.

As a sophomore in high school, he was already solid in the stat sheet for his team. He averaged 21 points and 9.8 rebounds for Kentwood—he also scored that 21 per on 74 percent shooting. He already holds the Kentwood record for rebounds in a season and shooting percentage. He isn’t done yet. He wants to break the career scoring and rebound record held by Detroit Piston dynamo, Rodney Stuckey. Josh does have something going for him- more time.

Rewind the clocks back before even his sophomore season, to just before his freshman campaign. Smith’s father went to the Kentwood coach to ask where his kid would fit in. Coach Angelidis was notorious for not starting freshman. “In all my years of coaching, I have not started a freshman.”

Josh’s dad simply countered, “Okay, Coach, You might change your mind.” Six games into the season, Smith was starting. He hasn’t lost the job since. He was the only frosh on the All-Tournament team at State. At Washington, since age 14, he’s had an open invitation to sit right behind the Huskies bench to watch them play. He was on first name basis with Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar since age 15—even though his dad still corrects him. “Lorenzo, like you guys are buddy-buddy or something.” He’d say, shaking his head in amazement.

This is one of the few times you should listen to the likes of Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, even Bill Walton. Man-Beast. Baby-Shaq. Youngbuck demands the paint. To get him used to all the extra bodies in the paint, Kentwood runs a drill in practice where Josh has to seal a triple-team and get the ball. After that, he’s expected to dunk on them. Coach Angelidis is preparing him for NCAA domination. Josh Smith wants to be known as the big-man owning the paint, not just “the guy with the same name as that Hawk Airman.” For those unaware of the Kentwood Conquerers’ Josh Smith, allow him to introduce himself. His name is J-O-to-the-S-H, he’s known to dunk on face ’til the end days.

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  • http://www.bbl.org.uk Josh D

    When he gets to the league will we have call him Joshua Smith? Or by the initials of his first and middle name like J something Smith

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    just Josh Smith! by then he’ll have made a big enough name for himself

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Walshy going in! My idol, again.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    hahah thanks Moose. If I ever have a hunt in the woods planned…I’ll steer clear of the antlers of a large Moose. get it? ohhhh yeah.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Great. Just don’t go out with Sarah Palin and you’ll be all set.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Didja get my email last night J-Walsh? hahaha new nickname….

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Sarah Palin is the devil! THE DEVIL. And Yeah, I’m posting on my blog what we spoke about in a few hours tonight

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Gotcha, I’ll be sure to check that. Email me up if you wanna say anything else about it. And yes, Sarah Palin is the devil. But she doesn’t shoot my family. I’m a human. She shoots my spirit family.

  • j-smoov 5

    Baby Shaq…Enough said…

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    So… he’s big and all, but he doesn’t really seem to have a skill set from the highlights.

    He’s got a baby hook and a drop step, but the hook is soft, it looks like it’d only extend out to 5 or 6 feet.

    When your that big I suppose it doesn’t matter as much, but I’d hope to see some more development out of him by senior year.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Ive never seen the guy play but from that video I can’t tell whether hes going to be a Kwame Brown or a Andrew Bynum. He’s just bigger, yknow.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Josh Smith is just huge Z. Just so strong, so BIG. He works WAY too hard to be Kwame. And I dont know if he would be Bynum, one of the most promising centers in the league. I would say he has an opportunity to be very special. Hursty, he is mainly a beast in the paint, his game does not extend out past 8 feet as of now, but you have to remember that Dwight Howard was the same way in HS- nothing but drop steps the entire time. I’m not saying he will be dwight, I am saying he’s a skilled big

  • Dark

    If this guy is indeed a hard worker, he could end up the real deal . . . if he’s not, we’re looking at Eddy Curry II.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Dark, that’s a fair statement, no doubt. But all reports have been that he has a big work ethic. I believe in the big-fella

  • ry

    whats the name of this song?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBQEmmgDl9I Boing Dynasty

    He “demands” the paint and is known to “dunk on face”.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    yes Boing, I did mention his penchant to dunk on face.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Just did a little write up on this kid for next issue of SLAM. He’s tough.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Alright Ben, I see you! Good look on getting young man some shine! He is a tough man. Ben, quick update- Renardo Sidney has committed to USC

  • Yann Blavec

    How about “Baby-I’m-Not-Fat-I’m-Big-Boned” ?

  • Cizzo

    A true paint monster 2010 is the next big year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bret

    looks like he has nice hands, and I like the clip where the little (he’s probably 6-5, 6-6) white fella just disappears after Smith barrels into him and then yams it!