Scoochie Smith returned to the University of Dayton campus Thursday for the first time since graduation. Despite the cancellation of his first flight from Dallas in the morning, he hoped to make it to UD in time for a pickup game in the evening with the many alums returning for Reunion Weekend.
Smith, Kendall Pollard, Devin Oliver, Dyshawn Pierre and others will relive the good, old days — which ended less than three months ago for Smith and Pollard — with some games certain to be featured on Instagram this weekend.
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Smith will be in a great position to showcase the talents that made him such a beloved point guard for the Dayton Flyers the last four seasons. He had a workout with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. He worked out for the Toronto Raptors on May 30.
Ever since he leaving Dayton, Smith has focused on improving his game in hopes of taking his talents to the next level. The NBA Draft is June 22.
“My first goal is to try to get drafted,” Smith said. “I’m preparing for that. If not, more than likely, I’ll be playing on a summer-league team. It’s just a matter of who.”
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Former Flyers have played in the NBA Summer League the last three years. Oliver played for the Boston Celtics in the summer league in 2014. Jordan Sibert played for the Orlando Magic in 2015. Last year, Pierre played for the Indiana Pacers.
Those three have yet to play in the NBA but are enjoying success in Europe: Oliver played in Slovenia last season and won the league championship . Sibert was in Greece. Dyshawn Pierre in Germany.
Smith ranks 26th in school history with 1,289 points. He earned first-team All-Atlantic 10 honors as a senior, averaging 13.8 points and 4.5 assists and shooting a career-best 38.8 percent from 3-point range. He’s confident he can play at the next level.
“I think I have the skills and I have what it takes,” Smith said. “I’m focusing on becoming a better player and just being prepared when the opportunity presents itself so I can take advantage of it.”
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Smith signed with Excel Sports Management earlier this spring. He has spent most of his time since graduation working out in his hometown, New York City, with players who also signed with Excel, such as Kentucky guard Malik Monk.
Smith played at the Portsmouth Invitational in April and worked out for NBA scouts and general managers at an Excel Sports Management Pro Day on May 24.
“They’ve got high-level talent,” Smith said. “Being able to prepare for the draft with those guys is a good experience. I’ve been working hard, getting ready for team workouts.”
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Smith liked the way he played at both workouts with the Mavericks and Raptors. The teams run players through all the typical agility, dribbling and shooting drills and watch them play against each other.
“I’ve been learning more about the pro game,” Smith said. “Pro and college are two different games.”
Returning to campus will be different for all the recent alums because their coach, Archie Miller, has moved on to Indiana. Miller took Smith and the other seniors to dinner the night before graduation. Smith said he has kept in touch.
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From 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Smith and Pollard will sign autographs for fans at Milano’s on Brown Street.
“It’s good to come back,” Smith said. “It’ll be a fun time.”