Chris Smith (basketball, Born 1939)
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Chris Smith Basketball, Born 1939
Chris Smith
Personal information
Born (1939-03-31) March 31, 1939 (age 81)
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Career information
High schoolCharleston
(Charleston, West Virginia)
CollegeVirginia Tech (1957-1961)
NBA draft1961 / Round: 2 / Pick: 14th overall
Selected by the Syracuse Nationals
Career highlights and awards
  • 3× First-team all-SoCon (1959-1961)

Chris Smith (born March 31, 1939) starred in basketball at Virginia Tech from 1957 to 1961. He was nicknamed "Moose" at Charleston High School in West Virginia where he played as a 6-foot-6 center during an era of exceptional local talent in what was then known as the Kanawha Valley.[1][2] Smith was later dubbed "the human pogo stick" by former Roanoke sportswriter Bill Brill.[3] During the 1961 NBA Draft, Smith was the highest draft choice for any Virginia Tech basketball player ever when he was selected as the fourteenth overall choice by the NBA's Syracuse Nationals.[4] He likely would have been drafted higher except for one important factor. Since playing professional basketball was not financially lucrative in 1961, Smith reportedly informed the NBA teams that he would not play professional basketball, and asked them not to draft him. He never reported to Syracuse camp. [5]

In 1982, Smith was the only basketball player inducted as a charter member to Virginia Tech's Hall-of-Fame. [6]

Smith still holds many Virginia Tech rebounding records: game (36); season (495); career (1508); season per-game average (20.4); and career per-game average (17.1).[7]

Smith is the state of Virginia's NCAA Division I leader in career average rebounds per game of all time.[3] He is still ranked 26th nationally for career average rebounds per game (17.1) and 24th nationally for total career rebounds (1508) as listed all-time for Division I players by the Official 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Records Book.[8] His career average rebound record of 17.1 rebounds per game is the current record for the State of Virginia.[9] In addition, Smith has the Southern Conference Tournament rebounding records of 28 rebounds for a single game and 71 rebounds for three games.[9] These records were established in 1960 and have been the Southern Conference Tournament rebounding records for more than 50 years.

According to the 2009-10 Virginia Tech basketball program, Smith "is regarded by many as the greatest basketball player in school history." In 2010, he was chosen to represent the Hokies at the annual 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament's Legends Class.[2][10] In 2010, ESPN selected Chris Smith as the "Best Player" in the history of the Virginia Tech Basketball program. [11]

The 1959-60 Hokies were the first Tech team to win 20 games in a season.[3] The 1959-1960 Virginia Tech Team won the Southern Conference Championship with a record of 12-1.[8] While Smith played for Coach Chuck Noe, they won their last 26 straight home games at War Memorial Gymnasium.[9] This winning home streak was extended to 41 straight wins in the newly built Cassell Coliseum after Smith graduated and is the current Virginia State record for consecutive home wins.[9]

In 1959, Chris Smith was a First Team All-Southern Conference Selection. In 1960, he was a unanimous 1960 First Team All-Southern Conference Selection along with Jerry West. In 1961, Smith was the captain of the All-Southern Conference team.[9] In 1960, he was selected as a Converse Second Team All-American.

Sports Illustrated featured the Virginia Tech basketball team on December 26, 1960. That issue stated the following:

Clearly the best performer on the floor was Tech's 6-foot-6 center Chris Smith, who scored 24 points and had 21 rebounds. The next night he led Tech to an 81-54 victory over Baylor and was chosen as the Classic's most valuable player. He is a square-jawed, crew-cut battler whose sheer strength and spring will surely bring him All-American honors this year. [12]

Frequent news articles still appear that document events during Smith's playing career such as Jennings Culley's July 22, 2001 article in the Richmond Times titled "Tech Basketball Recruits said 'Noe' to West Virginia";[13] Jack Bogaczyk's February 25, 2009 article about the second college basketball game in the Charleston Civic Center between Marshall and Virginia Tech;[14] and MSN Sports November 16, 2008 article about Chuck Noe's successful basketball recruiting in West Virginia for Virginia Tech during the 1950s.[1]

See also


  1. NBA Draft History 1961
  2. Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame
  3. NCAA 2009-10 Official Men's Basketball Records Book
  4. SI Vault
  1. ^ a b John Antonik (November 16, 2008). "Golden Memories: 50th Anniversary of the 1959 Season". Mountaineer Sports Network. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ a b Sports Staff Writers (January 27, 2010). "Charleston's Smith named Hokie Legend by the ACC". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Markon, John (October 11, 2007). "Catching Up With Chris Smith". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "NBA Draft History 1961". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ "Many good players dot Virginia Tech basketball history". Pulaski Southwest Times. February 14, 1982. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ "Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ "Virginia Tech 2018-19 Basketball Media Guide" (PDF).
  8. ^ a b "2009-10 NCAA Men's Basketball Records Book" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved 2010.
  9. ^ a b c d e Smith, Chris (2006). It's More Than Just Winning!. Chris Smith Publishing. ISBN 1-4243-0508-X.
  10. ^ "ACC Announces the 2010 Men's Basketball Tournament Legends". Retrieved 2010.
  11. ^ ESPN (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia. ESPN. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2.
  12. ^ Schardt, Arlie W. (December 26, 1960). "Chuck Noe vs. the South". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Jennings Culley (July 22, 2001). "Tech basketball recruits said 'Noe' to West Virginia". Richmond Times Dispatch. p. D9.
  14. ^ >Jack Bogaczyk (February 2, 2009). "VPI's Smith, Marshall's Williams played key rols in arena's second college game". Charleston Daily Mail.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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