Dime Q&A: Kenny Smith On His Unexpected Tournament Prediction & The NCAA/NBA Debate

By: 03.31.12

Dime: What do you think about all your Carolina boys going pro?
KS: Well I think they gave it an opportunity this year. Last year, they could’ve tried to smell the grass of the NBA, and they said we’re gonna come back for one year. And then they see how fragile that is. Anything can happen to get all the way to the championship game. I think if Marshall doesn’t get hurt, more of them come back. If they would’ve lost, and just lost (without injuries)… but now they see the fragileness of being in the Final Four, that probably made them leave.

Dime: In the NBA’s East, you see Miami has some issues with getting bored during the season, and of course, Chicago has issues of their own with Rose being hurt. Which one of those two do you think is more prepared to make a run at the Finals?
KS: Miami Heat. I just think their talent this year is not hindered by external factors of what’s going on, hoopla, trying to play together, who’s on first, what’s on second, you know what I mean? It’s about basketball for the first time for them, and when it’s about basketball I just think that they’re too talented and they’re playing with a great cohesion.

Dime: What about in the West? Do you think the two best teams are the Thunder and the Spurs?
KS: You can throw the Lakers in there. The West is wide open. The West is wide open. If Oklahoma lost in the first round or won the West, I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

Dime: To go back to the tournament, do you think Austin Rivers made the right choice as far as coming out?
KS: He was gonna be a pro this year or next year so he just elected to do this year. He was on the Dukies, that school in Durham, he still was okay (laughs). He’s an okay player. That’s hard to do (laughs). He’s tough.

Dime: Being in your position as a guy who made his name in broadcasting, who are some of the current players you think could do the same thing?
KS: Grant Hill. Steve Nash. The two Phoenix guys out there could do it. I’m thinking of guys in the latter stages of their career. The younger guys I ain’t even thinking about. Those two guys in their latter stages… those two guys would make that swing easy.

Dime: With Kansas and Ohio State, who are you taking in that game?
KS: I’m taking Kansas. I’m taking Kansas to win it all.

Dime: You were saying before you really like Thomas Robinson.
KS: Yeah I really like Thomas Robinson, and Tyshawn Taylor. I think they have a nice bracket in there. I think if Louisville is able to upset Kentucky, I think they’re a better team than Louisville.

Do you think he’s right about Kentucky against an NBA team?

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