Ray Smith’s collegiate basketball career ended prematurely, but his involvement with the Arizona program will continue.
The former 4-star prospect is staying with the team in some capacity for the 2017-18 season, his first full campaign as a non-player since retiring in late 2016 due to injury. Smith suffered three ACL tears before bowing out of the game at 19 years old.
With an on-court career now out of the question, Smith has his sights on the classroom, but might also serve as a manager this season. His new role begins with the team’s offseason trip to Spain.
“I think it says a lot about our basketball program and our university that we’re able to bring him along,” head coach Sean Miller said, per Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star. “It’s a great experience for Ray and it’s one he deserves.”
Smith’s exact role will be difficult to define initially, because class and practice could conflict. As a student, sans-athlete, school will undoubtedly be the priority. But his continued involvement in the program is both encouraging for his future, and a good look for Miller’s program for not leaving a former player behind just because he can no longer play.