A day after their lone exhibition match, the Arizona Wildcats officially lost Ray Smith for the year due to ACL reconstruction surgery.
Here's the statement from the university:
"Arizona freshman Ray Smith had successful surgery on his right knee today. As expected, Smith had an ACL reconstruction on his injured knee and will be out for the 2015-16 season."
Thinking about Ray Smith this morning as he undergoes surgery on his knee. I haven't been around a young person that is more resilient.— Sean Miller (@UACoachMiller) November 9, 2015
He will return stronger than ever.— Sean Miller (@UACoachMiller) November 9, 2015
I feel that Smith's injury was already felt during the exhibition against Chico State. If there's one position that did not perform well, it was definitely the small forward position. Mark Tollefsen was kind of underwhelming, Justin Simon didn't play until the end of the game, and Elliott Pitts didn't look particularly great on the offensive end, although he did take a nice charge and looked better on defense overall.
At least one NBA scout that had seen Smith practice before he injured his right knee said that he could see him as a first-round one-and-done talent. Hopefully with some more time to adjust to life without Smith, Arizona gets better production at the three, whether it's Tollefsen, Simon, or someone else.