Dwayne Smith’s contributions on the court are not always glamorous. But the sophomore guard wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I do take pride in that,” Smith said after his team’s 52-46 win over Saint Louis Saturday afternoon. “I love doing the dirty work, I love getting rebounds and loose balls and stuff, because coaches praise that, so in return, you know, I get praise.”
Smith’s game Saturday was a perfect example of the double threat the sophomore has become for the Colonials. He was a force to be reckoned with on offense, scoring 13 points against the Billikens, second only to junior guard Tony Taylor’s 19. Smith also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds Saturday and blocked three Saint Louis shots, both of which were career-highs for the Toronto native.
“He’s been shooting the ball extremely well,” men’s basketball head coach Karl Hobbs said after the game. “[He’s] been really taking some really good shots, really taking pressure off Tony from the scoring standpoint. And that’s just part of him expanding his game.”
Becoming a dual threat on the court is a role Smith has adjusted to quickly. He’s an offensive leader for the Colonials, averaging 9.9 points a game, the second most on the team, and leads GW in offensive rebounds.
As valuable as his scoring has become for the occasionally offensively challenged Colonials, Smith has been equally effective on the defensive end for GW. He’s second on the team in steals with 17 and third in blocks with 15. His overall rebounds-per-game average of five is third best on the team, behind senior center Joseph Katuka and sophomore forward David Pellom.
“The coaches are just really doing a good job in motivating me, like my ups and downs,” Smith said. “Coach Hobbs and [associate head coach Roland] Houston especially, just more so with the rebounding, and pushing me to rebound more, and that’s helped us and helped the team.”
Smith’s increased production across statistical categories has been valuable to the Colonials, who have gone 8-4 in games in which Smith scores 10 or more points. Against Saint Louis Saturday, it was Smith who hit a pair of free throws with 7:18 left in the game to give the Colonials the lead they would keep for the remainder of the game, and it was Smith who time and time again hit the floor diving for loose balls and out-jumped taller Billiken players for rebounds.
“The main thing we’ve been focusing on with Dwayne is just him getting more rebounds,” Hobbs said. “We really believe that he has the ability to be one of the top rebounders in this league. I think after the St. Bonaventure game, he had one rebound; I think he really understood that he’s a much better player than that. I think the thing is that he understands that in order for us to win he has to be a consistent rebounder.”
Smith, too, understands the importance of his skills to GW’s performance, explaining after Saturday’s win why it is he enjoys being the player who handles the Colonials’ dirty work.
“It helps us win,” Smith said, adding, “I’ll do anything so that we can win.”