For months, there has been speculation as to whether UCLA basketball center Josh Smith has lost weight and gotten in shape over the summer. The narrative surrounding the talented but oft-ridiculed big man was his fitness and, literally (no pun intended), his weight has been weighing him down.
Not too long ago, we posted this little tidbit from a UCLA student on reddit who saw Josh Smith recently, since Smith lives in the student’s apartment complex:
I see the dude almost every day, since he lives in my apartment building. He looks basically the same. I’m not saying he hasn’t lost weight, but if he has it hasn’t been enough to be physically noticed. The picture comparison to the video kinda didn’t help. Just saying… [...] I’ll believe it when I see him dominating the court. He’s ALWAYS eating junk food in the elevator. Nice guy though.
Reports had said otherwise prior to this, though, and we gave Smith the benefit of the doubt.
We realize this was a mistake, and apparently, Smith may have actually put on weight. From Miguel Melendez at Inside UCLA:
We caught a glimpse of practice after Howland’s press conference. I saw Smith but I can’t tell whether he’s lost any weight just based on the fact I’ve never covered this team. I asked a seasoned beat writer and he thought Smith actually put on some weight since the last time he saw Smith.
That’s damning. Smith’s biggest problem is his weight and, as we keep banging our heads over, is really the only thing keeping him from being the most dominant big man in college hoops today.
Smith has disappointed us plenty, though, so while we’re upset to hear about this — and, quite frankly, really angry — we’re also not in the least bit surprised by this news, if it’s true.
It might not be, mind you, and this is based on speculation. But it’s speculation from a “seasoned” beat-writer that’s obviously seen Smith quite a bit over the past couple of years, meaning the statement has some validity to it. To further confirm this, though, we suggest you read the quotes from Ben Howland over at Miguel’s post regarding the status of Smith.
We’ve said it over and over (and every college hoops pundit will agree): UCLA will only go as far as Smith will take them, talented freshmen class be damned. UCLA’s main strength over any other team in the nation is easily on the interior where Smith has the potential to hold down the fort.
We’re hoping this is untrue. Crossing our fingers, praying, even.
Please, get it together, Josh.