I watched a quick presser of Coach Smart, following the second Fall Practice, and I seriously needed a minute to compose myself.
I wish I had a way of actually posting the video here, but if you click the link above, or this one, one you’ll find the Facebook Live content without issue. Or, if you don’t have access to Facebook, click here instead.
Plenty was said during the just under six minutes Smart met with the media, but the part that stood out for me was when he was asked about true freshman Julian Rochester.
Rochester retreated to one of the tents on the first day of practice. This immediately prompted speculation of that he may have an injury.
Smart quickly squashed that notion and made it clear Rochester was probably unable to keep up with the pace.
“He probably got tired. He tends to get tired. I don’t know of any injuries …might’ve been something to do with his shoes. I couldn’t tell you.”
When further pressed about said “shoes”, and whether or not other guys have had a problem with them, Smart went on to say …
“There are problems when they wear their high school shoes…we corrected that, by the way”.
As I’ve said before, there’s nothing thinly-veiled in Smart’s statements, if you’re willing to pay attention. He’ll offer lots of insight into what he’s currently dealing with on this team.
Wearing your “high school shoes” isn’t meant to be literal.
A fair number of high school highly-touteds arrive with an idea of their worth–bringing with them the belief that the accolades and recruiting ranking they amassed prior to their arrival will translate into continued adulation at the college level.
The problem for those players is …this ain’t high school.
Smart is obviously making sure that message is made abundantly clear. I hope the intended parties take note and change shoes.