Eddie Smith’s e-book details tribulations and accomplishments of man who was a cornerstone for Arizona basketballMonday, May 6th, 2013
The shot that put a charge into Lute Olson making Arizona basketball relevant belongs to a man today’s Wildcats need to read a book to learn about.
The Cornerstone of Arizona Basketball is that book. Eddie Smith, the author, is that man. His last-second prayer at ASU in Olson’s first season of 1983-84 is that shot.
“I never want to make myself seem like I’m living in the past,” Smith commented to me this week. “I think it is good that the story comes out.”
The Wildcats were 5-15 overall, only one win more than the previous year’s victory total in Ben Lindsey’s 4-24 season, before Smith made the winning shot against the Sun Devils that bounced on the rim before finally falling. Arizona’s 65-64 win over ASU, completing its first season sweep over the Sun Devils since 1969-70, put the Wildcats in motion toward where the program stands today.
Smith, Pete Williams, Steve Kerr and the Wildcats won six of their last eight games, including the victory at ASU, to finish the 1983-84 season with an 11-17 record. The Wildcats won nine of their first 12 games in the next season before traveling to ASU again to start the Pac-10 season. That’s when Smith contributed to one of the most legendary comebacks in UA history.
“This was the start of something that would set a tradition,” Smith writes in his e-book. “The clock clicked down to less than a minute. They were up 9 points. And remember, at that time in the game, there was no 3-point line.”
Smith converted on two traditional three-point plays instead as part of Arizona’s winning rally after ASU led 60-53 with 37 seconds remaining.