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New blood for Lukic. Who is Kendall Smith, newcomer to Nizhny Novgorod?

Date: April 24, 2024 Time: 08:52:45

New blood for Lukic. Who is Kendall Smith, newcomer to Nizhny Novgorod?

Alexander Zoteev February 25, 2024, 16:00 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.

The American must help the team compete for the playoffs.

The Nizhny Novgorod uprising became one of the main topics at the end of the first stage of the regular championship of the VTB United League. After a disastrous start to the season, Zoran Lukic’s team returned to their old standards and are now one of the most unpredictable teams. It is clear that the residents of Nizhny Novgorod are not going to give up their jobs. This was also confirmed on February 21, when Nizhny announced the signing of American defender Kendall Smith. “Championship” prepared material about the new recruit of the Russian national team.

Zoran Lukic

Photo: BC UNICS

Background. Nizhny started the championship with three victories in a row and it seemed that the club was again ready to fight for the highest places. But after that, the Nizhny Novgorod team suffered 17 defeats in 19 meetings and fell to the penultimate place in the standings. However, from mid-January the situation began to improve: Lokomotiv-Kuban and Zenit were confidently defeated, and those same six seconds separated them from defeating CSKA on the road. From the status of one of the worst teams in the league, Nizhny literally in a month became one of the deepest and most promising clubs at least in the second eight.

Now “NN” enters the second part of the season with an improvement, mainly morally. The same cannot be said of direct competitors. And if just a month and a half ago it was difficult to imagine that the Nizhny Novgorod team even thought about the playoffs, now the team has everything to at least adequately compete for participation in them. This is guaranteed to become one of the main intrigues of the rest of the regular season.

Before the start of promotion, Nizhny Novgorod parted ways with three foreign players: Brion Allen, Dragan Apic and Glenn Cousy. Two foreigners remained on the team: Alexa Novakovic and Casey Shepherd, who joined during the season. Of course, the people of Nizhny Novgorod needed reinforcements and they found them in Greece. So who is Kendall Smith?

Kendall Smith (with ball)

Photo: Oklahoma State

The American spent his first two seasons in the NCAA for UNLV (University of Nevada in Las Vegas). His partners were, in particular, Christian Wood, current player of the Los Angeles Lakers, Cam Birch, former basketball player for Orlando and Toronto, and Patrick McCaw, three-time NBA champion with Golden State and Toronto.

However, Smith did not get the minutes he expected and transferred to Cal State Northridge. In this program, he immediately became one of the leaders, scoring more than 15 points per game on average. But Cal State Northridge was not a “big” school, and in his final college season, Smith decided to try out for Oklahoma State. With the Cowboys, Kendall averaged over 13 points per game, but that didn’t attract NBA teams and he went undrafted.

To start his professional career, Smith chose the Czech Republic and signed a contract with Nymburk. It is noteworthy that at that time the assistant coach was Alexander Sekulic, current coach of Lokomotiv-Kuban. However, the American only played seven games for the club, after which he moved to Belgian side Okapi, where he played 26 games.

Perhaps something confused Kendall in Europe, and he returned to his homeland, where he played in the NBA Development League from 2019 to 2022. He played for farm clubs in New York, Sacramento, Golden State and Boston. In 2023, he decided to try his luck in Europe again, signing a contract with the Greek giants. The American started the 2023/2024 season with Chairov of the Turkish second division, but then returned to Greece, to PAOK. In February of this year he became a player for Nizhny Novgorod.

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As a rule, Smith plays as a classic point guard, but with Shepherd and Khvostov available, perhaps in NN he will play the “second” position. Or they will be separated and the American will come off the bench, which is unlikely. Kendall is a fairly versatile player, he can attack both from under the basket and from long distance. But still, his arsenal is dominated by passes under the basket, this is possible thanks to his explosive first step and his good dribbling. Smith is also in order with assists, throughout his career he has given an average of three or four assists per game. He does about the same amount of rebounds.

To sum up. Kendall Smith is a classic defender, focused primarily on scoring points. However, in individual episodes he can play for his partner and compete on the shield. At first glance, it seems like the American could fit well into Lukic’s system and be really useful. But in any case he will need some time to adjust. But whether this will be enough for Nizhny Novgorod to reach the playoffs, time will tell.

Even more opinions of the author can be found on his Telegram channel: “Black on Orange”.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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