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Is Josh Smith turning the corner at Georgetown?

Aug 8, 2013, 3:35 PM EDT

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There is no doubting the talent that Georgetown center Josh Smith possesses. The transfer from UCLA battled weight issues and a lack of work ethic in his two-plus seasons with the Bruins, but he appears to be turning it around as ESPN’s Andy Katz broke down his weight loss and new approach to working off the court.

Smith was around 350 pounds when he arrived at Georgetown and is now down to 310 pounds as he shoots for 290 as an ideal playing weight. Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said it isn’t about numbers for Smith, but just staying on the floor.

“I’ve taken the approach that let’s not talk about numbers,” Thompson III said to Katz. “I’ve told him, ‘Let’s get to a point where you can stay on the court for two minutes, then stretch it to five and then five to nine and then nine to 15.’ Some people can play at 200, some at 250, some above 3 and some can’t play above 150. He’s got to get to a point where he can stay on the court for an extended period of time.”

JT3 also told Katz, “A committed Josh Smith, I’m not sure there is a better big man in the country. He has the instincts and the physical tools to be better than any big man I’ve had.”

Since Thompson III has coached current NBA big men Roy Hibbert and Greg Monroe — who are both doing very well — that’s a strong statement.

The article also mentions how Smith fell into his weight issues in the first place, including some startling revelations about his diet.

“I had a bad rap at UCLA because I didn’t eat breakfast, I didn’t eat lunch. I would wait until after practice and workouts and then think I had to eat X amount of calories,” Smith said. “I was so hungry then. I thought it was the right way and it wasn’t. I’ve worked with a dietitian here since I got here in January. I’m dealing with portions, eating vegetables and fruit and drinking Powerade Zero with less calories. I wouldn’t eat all day and then try to eat 3000 calories at night. Now I’m eating them with small meals throughout the day.”
But Smith has hopefully turned a corner with the Hoyas and might finally get the chance to show his immense upside after showing plenty of flashes in his time at UCLA. Smith has also taken a mature approach to his weight loss and lifestyle changes and isn’t placing any blame on anybody for his past.

“I didn’t put the work in,” Smith said. “That was really it. People told me as a freshman. I didn’t put the work in. I thought I could turn it on and off.”

A healthy and active Smith could be a humongous difference inside for Georgetown, as they lost Greg Whittingham with a torn ACL and also Otto Porter to the NBA Draft. Although they’ll have Nate Lubick and Mikael Hopkins returning and Reggie Cameron as another freshman that can provide minutes inside, none of them possess the size and upside of Smith.

  1. jdvalk - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    If there’s any place a big man can develop his game, it’s Georgetown.

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