When Arkansas Razorback Assistant Coach Keith Smart returned to his hometown of Baton Rouge, LA, it proved to be a special occasion for many reasons. To begin with, Coach Smart was Arkansas’s acting head coach for the match-up at LSU since full-time Head Coach Eric Musselman had to stay in Fayetteville recovering from shoulder surgery earlier in the week.
Smart had not seen his mother in almost 3 years due to covid. He was able to visit with his mother at length both before and after Saturday’s game. Smart’s mother and other family members were at the Maravich Assembly Center to see the game. His former high school basketball coach was able to talk to Coach Smart after the game as well.
Keith Smart played high school basketball at Mckinley HS in Baton Rouge, located very close to LSU’s campus. Smart played college basketball at Indiana University from1985-1988 under coach Bobby Knight. In fact, Smart made the game-winning shot in the 1987 NCAA championship game. Smart’s jumper from the left baseline gave the Hoosiers a 74-73 win over Syracuse to secure the National Championship. Coach Smart went on to play in the NBA and later coached in the NBA for many years. This is his first season at Arkansas.
Praise For Coach Smart
The Razorbacks ended Saturday’s contest against LSU on a 17-2 run to earn the 65-58 upset victory. The aggressive man-to-man defense was the Hogs motive the last 9:01 of the game. They showed “incredible resilience and toughness” according to coach Musselman on Twitter after the game, as he gave credit to the players and coaches.
“Coach Smart was calm throughout the whole game,” said Arkansas forward Jaylin Williams. South Carolina head coach Frank Martin said “I’ve met Keith. I respect him tremendously. I mean, everyone remembers in college when Keith hit that shot. He’s a grinder. He’s good for the game.”
Perhaps the trip back home and the Hogs’ upset win can be summed up best by what Coach Smart said to the team in the locker room after the game, “Guys, you never want to disappoint your Mom!” Well said, coach.
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