Arizona Wildcats freshman forward Ray Smith suffered a knee injury in practice, which will force the prized recruit from Las Vegas to miss his first season with the Wildcats.
Continue for updates.
Smith to Miss Freshman Season
Saturday, Oct. 24
Smith will miss his freshman season after suffering a torn right ACL, the program announced Saturday, per ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman. This is the second time in two years that Smith has torn an ACL. He tore the ACL in his left knee during his senior year at Las Vegas High School.
The 6'8" freshman was the No. 29-ranked recruit in the 2015 class, per Goodman, and was expected to start for head coach Sean Miller's Wildcats after the departure of Stanley Johnson to the NBA.
Miller said the following in a statement provided by the university, per Goodman:
Ray Smith is one of the most talented young players that has ever entered our program. The news of his injury is incredibly disappointing on several levels. However, the togetherness of our program is one of our strengths. Our great fans, former and current players, our medical and coaching staffs along with Ray's family look forward to the challenges of helping him reach all of his goals and dreams.
His journey in getting to the top of the mountain might be different, but I have tremendous belief that he will get there with this type of support, his amazing determination to succeed and the love of the game of basketball that he possesses. Today, Ray Smith remains one of the most talented young players we have ever had at Arizona and that has not changed.
This is a huge blow to an Arizona team that is looking to improve upon its impressive season from a year ago. The Wildcats made it all the way to the Elite Eight before running into Wisconsin. Arizona lost its four top scorers to the NBA, however, meaning Kaleb Tarczewski (9.3 points per game) is the program's returning leading scorer.