April 15, 2014
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Colorado State men's basketball head coach Larry Eustachy and guard Dwight Smith jointly announced Tuesday afternoon that Smith has been granted a release from his scholarship at CSU. Smith, a redshirt junior guard, will complete his bachelor's degree in communication studies this semester and can be immediately eligible to compete for one season at another institution.
"I just want to officially say that I'm thankful for every second I've had here at CSU, the school the environment, and all the people that I have met throughout the course of these four years," said Smith, a native of Omaha, Neb. "I'm tearing up thinking about how much this school means to me and the people that have affected my life.
"One thing I'm happy to say is that I'm a Ram forever, and I've influenced and invested into so much and so many individuals lives. I'm happy to have done so much for this place and those people I've also touched in my own way. Thank you from the president down to the janitors but it's finally time for me to do something for myself."
Smith, a fan favorite throughout his time on the court in the Green and Gold, was a part of teams that posted 81 wins during his four seasons at CSU. He made an immediate impact on the court for the Rams, playing in 50 games with eight starts during his first two years on the team. As a sophomore, Smith made the first start of his career in the Rams' game at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium.
After making the decision to stay at CSU during the transition from Tim Miles to Larry Eustachy's staff, Smith sat out the 2012-13 season as a redshirt year, and looked to play a major role for the Rams as a redshirt junior in 2013-14. However, an injury-plagued season, which included a broken thumb and a sprained ankle, allowed him to play in just six of the Rams' first 20 games of the campaign, and hindered his effectiveness following his return to the rotation late in the year.
Still, Smith showed what he is capable of on a game-to-game basis in the Rams' season-ending loss vs. Utah State in last month's Mountain West tournament. Earning the start in place of injured big man Gerson Santo, Smith carried the Rams on his back with a carried the Rams in the narrow loss with a career effort that included personal bests of 21 points and eight rebounds.
"This is kind of a Catch-22," said Eustachy who says that he sees a scenario in which Smith could coach on his staff one day. "He would impact winning for us next year, but it's really what is best for him ... I'm happy for Dwight. I'm going to work to find the best situation for him, we're going to work together."
Smith closes his CSU career with 237 points and 118 rebounds. He also tallied 50 assists, 17 blocks and 19 steals for the Rams in 68 games with nine starts.
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