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Wildcats lose F Ray Smith for season with knee injury; Smith retires from basketball

Photo from @JavierJMorales

For the Arizona Wildcats, it is indeed the worst-case scenario.

According to the team, forward Ray Smith will miss the 2016-17 season with a knee injury sustained during an 86-35 exhibition game win over the College of Idaho Tuesday night.

Smith, who has missed the last two seasons due to ACL injuries, suffered damage to his right ACL as well as other ligament and meniscal damage.

Arizona coach Sean Miller released a statement:

“About a year ago I began my statement regarding Ray Smith’s season-ending injury by saying, ‘Ray Smith is one of the most talented young players that has ever entered our program.’ Unfortunately, I begin this year’s statement by reiterating the special talent that Ray has on the basketball court and once again addressing a season-ending knee injury.

In the 25 years I have been a college basketball coach, I have never felt as helpless as I did when I saw him go down on Tuesday night. No 19-year-old kid should have to experience three season-ending injuries in a 30-month period of time. I have watched Ray work with our strength and conditioning coach tirelessly for two years. I have seen him in our training room around the clock, doing everything he can to play the game he loves. To witness his extraordinary efforts and see this happen to him once again is beyond disheartening.

Ray is surrounded by a community that loves Arizona Basketball, current and former teammates that look at him as a brother, and a coaching staff and family that is beyond supportive and forever with him. Although the mountain that Ray is climbing continues to change, my belief in him to be a resounding success in life has never been stronger. His intelligence, charisma and sheer will position him to be special in all that he does. I certainly look forward to helping him, as part of our basketball family, reach all of the goals that he sets out to achieve.”

A five-star recruit out of Las Vegas, the 6-foot-8 forward was expected to be a key player for the Wildcats this season. Instead, because of this latest injury, Smith has decided to walk away from the game entirely.

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