NBA Buffalo Braves
TOP ROOKIE: RANDY SMITH
By JIM BAKER
Buffalo Courier- Express
That was the cry throughout the NBA this early season as fans who thought they knew the players perused the box scores and kept finding double figure point production from someone in Buffalo named Randy Smith.
Of course, Western New Yorkers have known for more than four years not only who but how great an athlete Randy Smith is, but it was really amusing to watch the rest of the NBA discover him. The best came in Atlanta Nov. 5. Just before the Braves took the floor to play the Hawks, an Atlanta writer approached me and offered the classic line: "Just who is this Randy Smith, anyway?"
About two hours later, Randy had connected on 15 of 21 shots, scored a pro peak 35 points and saved eight for overtime which keyed a thrilling 122- 117 Braves' triumph. The Atlanta writer, whose eyeballs were bulging by this time, spent the next hour scrolling rave reviews about Buffalo's "other Smith".
That writers and fans in the 16 other NBA cities would not know Randy isn't strange. After all, the Braves waited until the seventh round of the March draft to select him and seventh round choices hardly ever survive the final roster cuts.
To illustrate what kind of company Randy had in that seventh round, consider these choices of other clubs, such luminaries as Tom Bush, Gene Knolle, Mike Jordon, John Duncan, Eric Hill, Dennis Hogg, Skip Young, Steve Kelly, Curtis Ford, Gene Gathers, Ralph Brateris, Danny Davis, and Gene Phillips.
Of that group, only Randy made the NBA grade. And he not only made the Braves' roster, but as this is written he is averaging 13 points per game, has enjoyed a good many starting roles as a small forward and spent a time among the NBA's top 10 in field goal percentage.
Randy came to the Braves with All- America soccer credentials and having realized tremendous track feats as well in a star studded career at Buffalo State, where he quickly established himself as the greatest athlete in that school's history.
As a high school senior at Bellport, Long Island, Randy won the New York State Intersectional high- jumping title with a record leap in a meet held, of all places, at Buffalo State. That was the start of his solid relationship with the Elmwood Avenue school and with the athletic staff there headed by Howie MacAdam, who was his basketball coach for all but his senior season, when Don O'Brien took over.
At State. Randy sank 1,712 points in four years, easily a school mark. He paced the Bengals to the NCAA small- college regionals twice and had varsity- season point averages of 18.4, 25.6, and 23.5.
Ticket for Last Buffalo Brave Game........
Click to View
Return to Index