Arizona basketball’s Ray Smith done for year after ACL injury

Oct 24, 2015, 1:41 PM | Updated: 5:49 pm
Arizona coach Sean Miller gestures from the bench during the first half against Texas Southern in t...
Arizona coach Sean Miller gestures from the bench during the first half against Texas Southern in the second round of the NCAA college basketball tournament in Portland, Ore., Thursday, March 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)
(AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)

Arizona freshman forward Ray Smith will miss the 2015-16 season after suffering an ACL injury in practice this week, the athletic department confirmed Saturday morning.

Smith injured his right knee, not the same knee that caused him to miss his senior year of high school. The 6’8, 210 pound small forward suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in July 2014.

After being sidelined 10 months, Smith returned to play in a Nevada high school All-Star game in May. He was considered one of the Arizona’s best NBA prospects despite missing his senior season.

Wildcats head coach Sean Miller released the following statement in the school’s announcement regarding Smith’s injury.

“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.”

Smith was a four-star recruit out of Las Vegas High School and ESPN ranked him as the 29th-best prospect in his recruiting class.

With Smith missing his second year of basketball in a row, Arizona has several options at small forward — even though Smith was the roster’s only true small forward. Power forward Mark Tollefsen could play the position, but Miller could also opt to use three-guard lineups with senior Gabe York, junior Elliott Pitts and freshman Alonzo Trier playing as forwards.

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