Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

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Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby WoCo NH Dude on Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:29 am

Despite injury, Wofford's Smith has unfinished business
By Todd Shanesy;todd.shanesy@shj.com (Published: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7:05 p.m.)

Almost every day at 6 a.m., Aerris Smith can be found at the Spartanburg YMCA doing laps in the pool.
It's not because he has a love of swimming. It's because he has a love of basketball.
Smith, the only senior on the Wofford team, has an injured knee that will require surgery at the end of the season. He's recently regained his starting role, but his minutes in games and practices are limited. In fact, he always comes out just two minutes into each game.
To stay in good cardiovascular condition, he swims.
“I wouldn't say I'm a great swimmer,” Smith said. “But I've definitely improved.”
Smith found out at the start of this season that he needed surgery. For a player whose production had dipped to 2.9 points and 3.2 rebounds as a junior despite becoming a fulltime starter, he was faced with a dilemma.
Call it a career, take a redshirt season and come back for one more, or tough it out?
“I would say that 98 percent of the people in his situation would shut it down,” Wofford head coach Mike Young said. “He was ready to get started with his career in the business world. But he wanted to be part of this team and contribute as much as he could.”
Smith, a finance major from Charlotte, N.C. (Butler High School), first ruled out the redshirt opportunity.
“As much as I love Wofford, I think it's given me everything it could,” he said. “I want to go out in the world and show what Wofford has given me. I'm at that point in my life.”
He will graduate in the spring. But in the meantime, there is business on the court. He couldn't imagine walking away from the team.
“I realize that my days of playing 20 or 25 minutes are gone,” Smith said. “But I still wanted to put everything I have into this season. If Coach needs me for three minutes or 15, I want to be able to help. Swimming gives me to the energy to go longer if they need me to do that.”
Smith averages nine minutes per game, with 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds. He was reinserted into the starting lineup midway through the season and the Terriers took off, winning nine in a row. He remains in there, Young said, to help set a defensive tone and also out of reverence.
“Respect for him? Yeah, it's partly because of that,” Young said. “But I also like the physical, tough start to a game. He's a physical, tough guy. There are a couple of guys that we have trouble with just because of their size. Aerris (6-foot-8, 240 pounds) has stuck it up in there and really helped us.”
“... He's been an absolute terrific teammate. He's been a model citizen on this campus. He's done very well academically. And he's helped this team on the floor. Aerris is the consummate teammate. He just wants us to win.”
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby boulder3m on Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:49 am

Great article by TS. Like many, I suppose, I didn't realize that he had been injured. His minutes were certainly limited this season. What a great story about a guy who really represents "The Wofford Way." Today will be senior day, and we only have one on our team-therefore it is "Aerris Smith Day." Congratulations, big guy, you deserve it.
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby lawdog on Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:11 pm

Thanks WCNHD. Totally did not know any of this. Sometimes a few minutes of leadership per game can make a big difference.

After the game at Elon, I chatted with a young man near the Terrier bench who had been cheering the Dogs all game. He said he is Aerris's twin brother. Did not know about that either.
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby Hobo on Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:32 pm

I'm guessing non-identical twin?
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby Hobo on Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:33 pm

And I look forward to cheering for Aerris on Senior Night!
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby lawdog on Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:48 pm

He looked like Aerris, and said he was the twin, although he appeared not to be as large. Aerris is a hoss. Another thing about Aerris - on my few encounters with him he has been most courteous and handled himself well. A friend who was a principal at his high school told me when Aerris signed that he was all around probably her favorite student in the class.
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby woffordgrad94 on Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:04 pm

I also had no idea about him ever having any injuries. The guy sounds like a true warrior. Good luck to hi in his future endeavors after he helped the Dogs win a SoCon tournament championship.
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby woffordgrad94 on Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:05 pm

I also had no idea about him ever having any injuries. The guy sounds like a true warrior. Good luck to him his future endeavors...after he helped the Dogs win a third SoCon tournament championship and a couple of NCAA tournament games! =D> :lol:
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby Eyes of Old Main on Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:54 am

You don't always have to make an impact on the stat line to make an impact. Smith is a Terrier, through and through. I am proud of our team's accomplishment, but I am prouder that we have guys like this representing us.
SoCon Champs '03, '07, '10, '12, '17
FCS Playoffs '03, '07, '08, '10, '11, '12, '16, '17
FCS Semifinals '03
D-II Playoffs '90, '91
NAIA Finals '70
SC Little 4 Champs '48, '49, '50, '51, '52, '54, '56, '57, '61, '62, '63, '64
Cigar Bowl Participant '50
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby Hobo on Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:17 am

Aerris played great last night. The four rebounds he had were tough as nails, and two came late in the game when we really needed them. So happy for him.
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby Denise on Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:28 am

tough young man...a Wofford Terrier for sure. Special night for him last night.
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby Ruckus on Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:02 pm

3 straight stops and rebounds on the defensive end in the second half v King was huge for us.
Can anyone post the Mark and Thom post-game interview with Aerris? Or just provide a link somewhere? I would love to listen to it. As well as the other post game interviews from last night.
The atmosphere and crowd support was unprecendented for WoCo. Very proud to be a Terrier (win or lose).
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby Hobo on Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:07 pm

I just tweeted Thom about the interview and he said Hauser is working on getting some audio online. Will post when I see anything.
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby lawdog on Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:35 pm

Aerris got a little choked up ... pretty touching. He has had an inspirational effect on his teammates.
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Re: Aerris Smith (Short Hair Dog)

Postby Hobo on Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:23 pm

Cutting onions right now.
The mobile link to Aerris's interview:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=yout ... B-8qK2RI30
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