By MICHAEL LITTLEJOHN
On Nov. 21, University Mary Washington sophomore basketball player Walt Smith achieved a milestone when he recorded his first career triple-double. Smith, the sophomore point guard from Alexandria, Va, is a returning starter for Head Coach Rod Wood’s team. The triple-double came against a tough Christopher Newport team that beat UMW in overtime by two points in the Eagles first game in the William M. Anderson Center the week before. Smith ended the game with 16 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in Mary Washington’s 86-82 victory over the Captains.
Smith said that the extra boost of motivation came from the tough loss prior to CNU and he felt as if he let his teammates and fans down in that game. Smith referenced that he plays with a chip on his shoulder, and his tenacity was evident in Smith’s 10-rebound output considering he is only 5’8” and was battling against a bigger CNU backcourt.
The achievement for Smith was a lofty one, but he remains grounded and feels as though it is still about the team. Smith emphasized how important the team concept is to him and even referenced the basketball squad as “family.”
“I know it’s an individual accomplishment, but if it wasn’t for my teammates making shots and tipping the ball out to me I never would have achieved it,” Smith said. “That’s why I’m grateful.”
Senior forward Henry Brisibie discussed the accomplishment of his second-year teammate.
“[It] shows he is progressing as our point guard and being a leader through his play,” Brisibe said.
Smith’s willing to sacrifice individual stats to notch W’s in the win column, and will do whatever the team needs from him. Smith remains optimistic about this year’s team.
“I’m feeling real confident,” Smith said. “Most of our core is back from last year’s team and we have added new pieces to the puzzle.”
Smith said that the earlier loss to the Captains stuck with the UMW team. He said that the defeat kept them hungry for more wins and be determined to not be satisfied with where they are.
“If we stick together and follow the game plans that Coach Wood has for us, and make sure we’re getting better every day in practice, I believe the sky’s the limit for our team,” Smith said.
As far as recording any more triple-doubles, Smith said that’s not something he’s thinking about.
“I never really was striving for a triple-double,” Smith said. “I’m just trying to get better each day to do whatever it takes for my team to be successful. I was once told if you do everything in your power to get better in practice, the game will take care of itself.”