Arizona Basketball

Arizona’s Smith will “step away from the game for good” after latest knee injury

The back luck that is Ray Smith’s basketball career continues. For the third consecutive year, he has suffered a season-ending knee injury.

And now – in a Tweet – he has decided to “step away from the game for good.”

In his tweet he thanked his coach, Sean Miller, and his teammates as well as basketball officials. He’ll continue to attend Arizona.

“I’m saying, ‘thank you BASKETBALL you’ve been GREAT,” he wrote.

Arizona announced Thursday afternoon, Smith, a redshirt freshman forward, was to sit out the season with an injured right knee. He suffered an ACL injury to his right knee as well as other ligament and meniscal damage on Tuesday night in Arizona’s exhibition win over College of Idaho.

Surgery is scheduled for later this month.

Sean Miller’s statement:

Ray Smith will leave the game of basketball for good after suffering his third serious knee injury in as many years (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

Ray Smith will leave the game of basketball for good after suffering his third serious knee injury in as many years (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

“About a year ago I began my statement regarding Ray Smith’s season-ending injury by saying, ‘Ray Smith is one of the most talented young players that has ever entered our program.’ Unfortunately, I begin this year’s statement by reiterating the special talent that Ray has on the basketball court and once again addressing a season-ending knee injury.

“In the 25 years I have been a college basketball coach, I have never felt as helpless as I did when I saw him go down on Tuesday night. No 19-year-old kid should have to experience three season-ending injuries in a 30-month period of time. I have watched Ray work with our strength and conditioning coach tirelessly for two years. I have seen him in our training room around the clock, doing everything he can to play the game he loves. To witness his extraordinary efforts and see this happen to him once again is beyond disheartening.
“Ray is surrounded by a community that loves Arizona Basketball, current and former teammates that look at him as a brother, and a coaching staff and family that is beyond supportive and forever with him. Although the mountain that Ray is climbing continues to change, my belief in him to be a resounding success in life has never been stronger. His intelligence, charisma and sheer will position him to be special in all that he does. I certainly look forward to helping him, as part of our basketball family, reach all of the goals that he sets out to achieve.”

Arizona has other issues with bench help. There is still no word on the eligibility of sophomore Allonzo Trier, who sat out Tuesday’s exhibition game. Miller has remained mum on his status. And, sophomore Chance Comanche was held out of Tuesday’s exhibition game because of academics.

Miller said UA’s depth is so slim walk-ons will have to get ready to play. Earlier this week, UA was ranked No. 10 to begin the season.


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