Illinois senior Nick Smith
is the smallest seven-footer I've ever seen in a basketball uniform. He's also one of the better shooters and passers at that height. He's an inch taller than Shaquille O'Neal
and is a totally different player. I bet Shaq wishes he could shoot better than 80 percent from the free throw line. I've always enjoyed watching Nick play because you can see how much he enjoys the game and how well he knows it.
With that said, Nick is not having his best season. His numbers
are down in most categories and he just doesn't seem able to contribute much early in the season. However, his best game of the season thus far has been at Arkansas
, when he had some good minutes and seven points that the Illini really needed.
I bring all of this up because Mark Tupper has a post
about Nick that I completely agree with. If the Illini fans are being hard on Nick, they need to lay off. He's been there for them in the past and he will again in the future. Have a read.