Former Dayton Flyers point guard Scoochie Smith always felt he could play in the NBA. He showed he deserves a chance with his performance in the NBA Summer League.
Smith spoke to the Dayton Daily News on the phone from Las Vegas, Nev., on Tuesday as he prepared to leave town after playing seven games in 11 days with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While Smith had confidence about his ability to play at the next level, he said, “Sometimes you’ve got to reassure the people. That’s what happened.”
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Smith earned an invitation to training camp with the Cavaliers and said while he would probably accept it, he hasn’t made up his mind yet. He’s keeping his options open in case other teams express interest in him.
Smith averaged 8.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 16.9 minutes per game in Las Vegas. His role grew as the Cavaliers advanced past the preliminary round into the Summer League tournament.
Smith, who finished his Dayton career with 1,289 points in 2017 and ranks 28th in school history, said he learned to be more aggressive and stay in attack mode.
“I think that will help me a lot,” he said.
In a 112-109 double-overtime loss to the Lakers on Monday in the semifinals, Smith had 14 points, five rebounds and a team-high five assists in 27 minutes. He made 4 of 12 shots from the field.
Smith’s best performance came Saturday in the second round of the tournament. He scored 15 of his 17 points in the last seven minutes in a 92-87 victory over the Houston Rockets.
“I was just waiting on my moment,” Smith said. “I was fortunate enough it came during that Houston game, not right at the end of the tournament. I still got to showcase some more.”
Smith said the Cavaliers were happy with his play, and he thought they were maybe a little surprised by how well he performed.
“I think they learned a lot about me,” he said.
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This was Smith’s second experience in the Summer League. He played with the Boston Celtics in the Summer League a year ago but saw limited playing time.
“They drafted about four guys, so it was kind of tough for me to find an opportunity,” Smith said. “Staying positive and doing what I did in my first year (in pro basketball) helped me get the opportunity this week.”
Smith started his professional career last year in Australia and played in 27 games for the Cairns Taipans, averaging 10.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
Smith then returned to Ohio to play for the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers’ affiliate in the NBA G-League. He averaged 14.3 points, 8.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds. He shot 51.9 percent from the floor and 52.3 percent from 3-point range. He had his best game — 26 points and 10 assists — in the final game March 23.