Dayton Flyers senior Scoochie Smith lands on lists spotlighting the best names in college basketball every season. He’s more than just a great name, however. He’s one of the best point guards in the nation.
Here are five things to know about Smith:
1. He’s UD’s ironman: Smith has played in every game the past four seasons, 137 and counting. He will tie the school record for most games played, set by Chris Johnson from 2008-12, at 7:10 p.m. Friday when No. 7 seed Dayton plays No. 10 seed Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. At the same time, Smith will break the school record for consecutive games played.
“ If we do win the conference championship,” said Dayton coach Archie Miller in February before the Flyers clinched their first outright Atlantic 10 championship, “there won’t be a guy around the conference who wouldn’t say, ‘The only reason they did that was because he never missed game. He was there every game.’”
Smith ranks 27th in UD history with 1,264 points.
2. His grandpa gave him his nickname: Smith, whose real name is Dayshon, grew up in Bronx, N.Y., and got to play not far from home in each of his four seasons, going 4-0 in games at Fordham.
Smith’s late grandpa George Blount gave him the nickname when he was a kid, though its origins are murky. He looked up the word online in high school.
“It said to be annoying or dance a lot,” Smith said, “I know I was definitely one of the two and maybe both.”
3. Dayton recruited him hard: Smith started to get more and more playing time toward the end of his freshman season. Dayton made an Elite Eight run in 2014 in part because he was able to provide valuable minutes behind starting point guard Khari Price, who transferred to Southern Mississippi after the season.
Dayton coaches knew Smith was the point guard of the future. They knew that during the recruiting process, which assistant coach Allen Griffin spearheaded.
“Scooch was a smart kid in terms of knowing what he wanted,” Griffin said. “Obviously he had an opportunity to play as a freshman with only one point guard in the program. He saw that. Our relationship and my relationship with people surrounding him gave me trust with Scooch, and I nagged the crap out of him — I’m not going to lie, every day, two or three times a day — to the point where Scoochie said to me, ‘Coach, listen, I like you a lot, but you’re calling me more than my girlfriend.’ I said, ‘Well, get used to it.’”
4. He makes big shots: Smith played a sub-par game at Davidson on Feb. 24 and then scored 11 points in overtime, making three straight 3-pointers. That was just the latest of his many clutch performances. Smith has made 19 of 31 field goals (63.1 percent) in the last two minutes of games.
“He’s fearless when it comes to these big moments,” Miller said.
5. He’s getting overdue recognition: Smith has been of the best point guards in the A-10 the last three seasons, but he didn’t win a postseason award until this season. He was named to the A-10 first team earlier this month.
Smith improved his numbers every season: from 3.6 points per game game as a freshman to 9.2 to 11.7 to 13.5. His assists climbed from 2.0 to 3.8 to 4.3 to 4.5. His 3-point and field-goal percentage numbers have also risen each season.