By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- After taking a scary spill against Florida State on Sunday and suffering from concussion like symptoms, senior guard Tanner Smith feels as if he’ll be ready to go full speed against Virginia Tech on Thursday in the first round of the ACC Tournament. How’s he feeling today?
“I’m doing alright, I’ve made a lot of progress these past couple days,” Smith said. “I’ve seen the doctors and worked with our trainers, passed all of the tests I’ve needed to pass. Today I’ll do all of the non contact stuff during practice and hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to practice the whole time and will be able to go on Thursday.”
After passing all of the tests he’s needed to pass, Smith said all that’s left is making sure he doesn’t feel wobbly or get headaches while practicing the next two days before Thursday’s contest.
What was it that Smith landed on during his hard fall on Sunday?
“They told me it was my upper back and neck, those are the main things that have been sore,” Smith said. “They’re just taking precautions and making sure that I didn’t have any whiplash so it’s been a little bit of monotony going on but it’s been necessary.”
How fuzzy was Smith after the fall and how long did it take him to get back to his normal state?
“It took a while,” Smith said. “I remembered where I was, what I had for breakfast, and remembered the game so it wasn’t anything like memory loss I just was feeling really light headed and my balance wasn’t very good. When I went back to see the Florida State doctor he gave me words to remember, gave tests, and told me that it wasn’t as bad as it looked which was good for me. When I got back to Clemson I ran some more tests and had gotten a lot better since I took the flight, from then we knew that I was making good progress.”
As for the match up on Thursday, the two teams couldn’t be more even.
“We’re two very evenly matched teams, the two games really could’ve really gone either way,” Smith said. “We’re both very detailed oriented, have good coaches that prepare their teams very well which shows. When two teams play each other that coach it s the preparation that comes out, we did only play them a week ago so we’re still familiar with them. But in the ACC Tournament anything can happen, some weird things can go on so we have to expect that, be as prepared as possible and be ready to ride the roller coaster.”
Does Smith wish he could be out there with his teammates practicing full speed now or does he believe that taking it easy is the best route for him to get ready for Thursday’s game?
“It’s both, I’d love to get out there and get going, I’m one of those guys that I want to be out there and practice,” Smith said. “I feel like I play my best basketball when I’m out there practicing with my teammates and we’re continuing to get better together but at the same time if any freak accidents happen and I get hit in the head again I’ll be a few days behind and maybe not be ready for Thursday. It’s a tough line to deal with but I feel like the doctors have done a good job with where they want me to be and how they want to proceed here.”
Looking at the season as it’s progressed; Smith’s really enjoyed being a part of the 2011 team. Although they’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, he has learned a lot this season and hopes that he and the rest of the seniors were good role models for the six freshmen.
“I really enjoyed this season,” Smith said. “It’s been full of ups and downs and games that could have gone either way. We could have lost a few games that we won, won a few that we lost. The future is bright for Clemson basketball. We have six freshmen that learned a lot about our program and I hope that our senior class has taught them a lot about not only how things are done on the court but off the court in the community. Just the culture that we’re trying to make here, with that being said this is our ACC tournament right now, the only thing we’re guaranteed so far. So we have to come out with a sense of urgency, we have nothing to lose; there should be no reservations about how we play. We should play with confidence because we’ve been playing well up to the tournament and see where it takes us.”