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SPEEDY: From unknown to fan favorite

December 18, 2014

 

WILL TRAHAN
Staff Reporter 

SMITH

SMITH

 

What do you get when you combine hard work, talent, charisma and humility?

 

You get Kenneth Smith. Better known as “Speedy,” He has become one of the faces of Louisiana Tech athletics.

 

The point guard for the Dunkin’ Dogs is in his senior year and has made the most of the opportunity to be something special at Tech.

 

Students campus-wide know the legend of Speedy.

 

“He is kind of the face of Louisiana Tech basketball,” said Ross Dies, a pre-med senior and avid follower of Tech athletics. “Everyone knows Speedy and that he is good. Everyone knows that he can help the team out when they need it. There are plenty of good players on the team with (Michale) Kyser and (Raheem) Appleby and all those guys are great, but not only is he catchy, but he is clutch for his team.”

 

Smith could be described as clutch in his last second tip-in to beat Iona College in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament last year at home.

 

Smith has not let his success on the court change who he was before he became “Speedy.”

 

“It is an amazing feeling the way everyone talks about me,” Smith said. “It is a nervous feeling at times though ,because you have pressure situations ;but I am grateful for every opportunity.”

 

Smith is not one to get uncomfortable, but does get nervous about saying the right things.

 

“I want to make sure I am making Tech look the best and Coach (Michael) White look the best, because I am an extension of coach White,” Smith said.

 

When he first arrived at Tech, Smith had no idea what to expect from a team that went 12-28 the year before.

 

“I just bought into the system because it was the opportunity that I was given,” Smith said. “After the first two years I believed we were pretty good and the third year was pretty good. This year there is pressure on Raheem, Michale and myself to continue what has been going on from the years before.”

Smith has been focusing on his leadership role in his last year and has learned from seniors past.

 

“I am trying to be just like  (former Bulldog) Kenyon (McNeail) was,” Smith said. “He was a very vocal leader and his game on the court was fundamentals. He did all the little things and was a great listener. Our coaches still talk about him as a role model and he is my role model and that is what I am trying to portray this year.”

 

Smith is teaching the new guys the best way to be a big player in this program is to come out and have a lot of energy and be a blue-collar guy.

 

“The name of the school is why we are here right now,” Smith said. “You can get your name from being a high energy guy. I got my name from being an energy guy out on the floor. It is not because I can pass the ball really well, it is because the fans can see my effort and energy.”

 

The biggest difference in Kenneth Smith the freshman and Speedy Smith the senior is his ability to listen.

 

“Me being a better listener and being a better individual with finding closure in myself is the difference,” Smith said. “Being more vocal and being able to listen to the coaches when they are trying to tell me something I think is the best thing about it.”

 

Smith has not let the pressure of being Speedy change who he is.

 

“My game is not doing anything that is out of character,” Smith said. “The pressure does not change who I am or what I am going to do.”

 

Smith tells people who ask to take pictures with him or ask him for his autograph that he is just like them and is no better than they are.

 

He prides himself on being humble and being what he calls  a blue-collar player.

 

Email comments tobwt008@latech.edu.

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