WAC basketball Player of the Year Michael Smith is apparently giving serious thought to returning to BYU for his senior season. But as of Wednesday morning, he remained vague about his plans.
Smith returned to Provo Tuesday night after spending five days at his home in Hacienda Heights, Calif. The 6-10 forward, who averaged 21 points a game last year, has been considering declaring himself eligible for the June NBA draft. He returned to Provo to register for classes on Wednesday, giving rise to speculation that he will not turn pro. But Smith said he is registering for classes to keep himself eligible for next year's college season. He stopped short of saying his return to Provo means a final decision has been made."I haven't really made my final decision," Smith told the Deseret News. "I came back up (to Provo) so in case I decide to play here next year, I'm in school and I'm eligible. I came up here to take all precautionary meaures."
Smith's impending decision has kept speculation up for weeks among BYU's fans and even its coaches. As late as Wednesday morning the Cougar coaching staff wasn't completely certain Smith would be returning to BYU.
Smith's parents have steadfastly encouraged him to stay at BYU. His mother, Marie, said Monday night that she felt he would finish his career at BYU.
About mid-season last year he began to entertain ideas of playing in the NBA. His marketability is fairly high some scouts see him as a first-round draft choice, even as a junior. He is also said to be concerned about the possible move of BYU assistant coach Roger Reid to UCLA. Smith and Reid were scheduled to have a meeting Wednesday. Reid has yet to decide whether to take a lucrative offer under coach Jim Harrick at Los Angeles or stay on as Andersen's assistant.
Coach Ladell Andersen has held all along that he expects Smith to return for his senior year.
Smith went from being very interested in turning pro during the season to what he termed "50-50" shortly after the NBA playoffs, to "70-30" in favor of staying a few weeks after the end of the season.