Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Wake's Ish Smith must be consistent

The message from Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser to Ishmael Smith was consistent all season.
Even when Smith committed eight turnovers at Duke, Prosser backed the freshman point guard from Concord. The message?
“You’re my guy.”

“I feel very, very comfortable when he has the ball,” Prosser said. “Chris Paul went through rough times. Not to compare him to Chris Paul. But that happens. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that we’ve had some really good players as freshmen that can be very mercurial.”

Smith leads the ACC with 5.9 assists per game, and Prosser said he has done it despite having teammates who aren’t great at scoring even after Smith gets them the ball in the right spots.

The rough times, as Prosser referred to them, led to a 14-15 record and a No. 11 seed at the ACC tournament as Wake Forest prepares to meet No. 6 seed Georgia Tech (20-10) in a first-round game Thursday. But Smith remains upbeat.

“It’s been all I expected and more,” Smith said. “It’s been fun. It’s been a great ride. And we don’t want it to end.”

Smith’s performance against Georgia Tech freshman point guard Javaris Crittenton will go a long way toward deciding the game. Smith is five inches shorter than Crittenton, who is 6-foot-4 and has averaged 18 points and 6.2 assists over his last nine games.

Prosser said Smith needs to use his quickness to disrupt Crittenton before he gets to the lane and shoots over Smith. And on defense, the Yellow Jackets will see if they can rattle Smith, who has committed at least six turnovers four times this season.

“This is a team that’s really going to challenge Ish,” Prosser said. “They’re going to put pressure on him. They’re going to squeeze the orange to find out what’s inside, and I’m curious to see how it plays out.” - Ken Tysiac


Staton said...

Put the Boston College Game on! Just because the Tarheels game was priority and is over can you put the Miami Vs Boston Collge game up - Its already started and is already 10 minutes into it. Jeeez!