Smith withdraws from NBA Draft

It was announced Monday afternoon that forward Theron Smith withdrew his name from the NBA draft to play in his senior season at Ball State.

"We've been in full support of his decision, whatever that is, since we've started going through this process," said Tim Buckley, head coach. "But his realistic goal for him was to be a first round draft pick, and it didn't look like that was going to happen at this point in time, but there is definitely a possibility of that happening in the future.

"He just felt it was in his best interests to come back and have a good senior season not only as an individual, but as a team as well."

In Smith's statement Monday, he said that he wanted to test his chances with the NBA and did not retain an agent for the possibility of returning for his senior season.

Smith made the decision Friday canceling appointments to work out with the Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks.

Before the decision, Smith had worked out in Toronto with the Raptors.

Since the end of the school year Smith has been working out with trainer Tim Grover. They worked on his skills, training, building confidence and playing against NBA players such as: Corey Maggette, Los Angeles Clippers; Bobby Simmons, Washington Wizards; and Steven Hunter of the Orlando Magic.

Smith had received an invitation to the Chicago pre-draft camps, but did not go because of an NCAA bylaw.

When Smith found out, he said he was hurt by the decision.

"That was kind of surprising. They're killing us (underclassmen), trying to stop us from trying out. That just hurt.

"They're trying to penalize us, so I had to stop and stay in school."

Both Buckley and Smith are looking forward to the 2003 basketball season.

"I'm confident, and it should be exciting," Smith said.

Smith said his goal for the upcoming year is to "win win win win win."

"I'm trying to go out with a bang."

The Cardinals are looking forward to games with Xavier, Dayton and especially Indiana.

"I think we look forward to all the teams that we play," Buckley said. "With the Indiana game on New Year's Eve, I'm sure that's going to be an exciting day and evening all around.

"Hopefully the Ball State fans will be able to do more celebrating than they normally do on New Year's Eve."

Smith and the rest of the basketball team are going to be training this summer for this season.

Smith ranks 7th on Ball State's career-scoring list with 1,553 points and 4th all-time in rebounding with 862.

He finished last season with 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Averaging a double-double, he finished second in the country with 23 behind Kansas' Drew Gooden.

Smith wanted to tell the fans, "Thank you for supporting me, sticking with me and staying confident in me.

"They were positive and I just wanted to thank them.

"I'm back."


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