Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
|Riley Smith 2012 HOF|
If championships are your measuring stick for a great player, Riley Smith is your man. Don't worry, if you like accolades, accomplishments and records, he's got plenty of those, too.
From 1988-90, Smith was the top player in the Big Sky Conference, and led the Vandal men to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths. In his two years with the team, Idaho posted a 50-12 overall record and 26-6 conference tally, and won 25 of 27 home games in the span. The Vandals beat Nebraska and Washington State twice each and posted a 4-1 record against Boise State, which includes a 59-52 victory on the Broncos' home court to win the 1989 Big Sky Tournament title. Only seven of the team's 50 victories in Smith's two seasons came by single-digit margins.
Smith, during that span, was the engine that drove the Vandals. He averaged 15.9 points in 1988-89, a season in which he shot a school-record 65.1 percent from the field. His impressive offensive output was a big reason why the team set a school record with an average margin of victory of 15.1 points that season. It was no big surprise that the Big Sky honored him as its Top Newcomer, as well as a First-Team All-BSC player.
As a senior, Smith kept the big things coming. He averaged 22.6 points a tally that broke what had been a 32-year-old single-season scoring record. He also led the team in rebounding with 8.8 grabs per game and in blocked shots with 36. Opponents knew they couldn't stop him, so they fouled him. That didn't work, either. He went to the stripe a school-record 230 times as a senior and tied Chuck White's 1962 total with 160 made FTs. Both records still stand today.
In his career, Smith scored 1,195 points - the highest total by any two-year playerat Idaho – and made the seventh-most field goals (455) without even sniffing the top 10 in field goal attempts. His career shooting percentage of .627 is the school record by a mile and his career scoring average of 19.3 points is bested only by Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame charter member Orlando Lightfoot.
One of the most prominent memories of Smith's time at Idaho actually came from a shot that he didn't take. When Idaho and Eastern Washington were tied, 62-62, in the final seconds of the 1990 Big Sky Tournament Championship game, everyone in the building knew the ball was going to Smith, the 1990 Big Sky MVP and two-time Big Sky Tournament MVP. It did, and after the ensuing EWU double-team came, Smith calmly dished to the wide-open Ricardo Boyd, who drained the game-winning triple as time expired.