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Husky Men's Basketball Blog
Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies. E-mail Bob.
A brief word with Joel Smith
Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:57 AM
Had a chance to talk with Joel Smith the other day and he says he's raring to go for this season after missing last year with a foot injury.
"I'm a lot stronger, more aggressive when I'm close to the rim and my defense has definitely picked up,'' Smith said late last week. "Everything else is pretty much the same.''
Smith said he weighs about 212 pounds compared to about 200 during his sophomore season two years ago.
"It's just lifting and gaining weight and learning how to use that weight,'' he said.
One of Smith's trademarks back then were his high-flying dunks, and he said he's "still got it. My legs aren't all the way back just yet. I'm still getting used to this being able to go all day, every day. It gets you a little bit. I never had to sit down and do nothing for so long, so I'm just getting back in the flow with my legs and go, go, go. But I'm getting used to it.''
UW coaches say Smith has emerged as a leader during this training camp, which makes sense since he is the most veteran player on the team, the last one who played on the team with Nate Robinson that went to the Sweet 16 in 2005 (Ryan Appleby was a redshirt that season).
"I'm definitely leading by example and vocally,'' he said. "I like it a lot. It's not a bit adjustment or nothing like that. I talk a lot anyways, so it's a good deal to be able to have been here for a while and at least help these guys out, especially the young guys, with some of the things I've seen and been through.''
Smith likes the look of the team's four freshmen, saying "they are coming in and willing to sacrifice and work together. Everybody is down with the team concept.''
As for how the team will look on the floor, Smith says it'll be back to how it was when he was last on the floor.
"We are definitely a lot more uptempo,'' he said. "Last year we really didn't have that push and defensive presence. We'll definitely be more of a defensive team this year than last year with a few more guys with atleticism and strength. It'll definitely be a little different.''