Adrian Smith Inducted into Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame
June 4, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Former UK men's basketball standout, and member of Adolph Rupp's 1958 Fiddlin' Five National Championship team, Adrian “Odie” Smith will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the 1960 gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic basketball team.
“I never thought something like this would happen to me,” said Smith. “The Olympic team was a very special team and just having the opportunity to go in to the Naismith Hall of Fame, I just really don't have any words for that. I'm so thankful for Northeast Mississippi Junior College, that's the only scholarship I had, and then UK giving me the scholarship to come on there.”
Smith ranked fifth on the Olympic team in scoring, averaging 10.9 points per game as the U.S. team finished the Summer Olympic Games held in Rome undefeated, winning each game by an average of more than 42 points.
“The Olympics was an unbelievable experience. We had four NBA Rookies of the Year (Oscar Robertson, Walt Bellamy, Terry Dischinger, Jerry Lucas) on that team, and just to be a part of the talent of that team, I never thought I'd be a part of something like that. Two of the things I remember most are the opening day parade, marching into that stadium with over 100,000 fans and they played (our) national anthem, what a feeling that was; and the day we got the gold medal, when you stood up on that stand and they put that gold medal around your neck, that was a very special thing too.”
A native of Farmington, Ky., Smith averaged more than 28 points a game at Farmington High School his senior season. He played his first two years of college ball at Northeast Mississippi Junior College, where he led the team in scoring for two straight years, finishing with 1,524 points in 64 games (23.8 ppg). In 1956, Smith became only the third junior college player to receive a scholarship to play at the University of Kentucky.
After averaging 10.1 ppg in two years at UK, Smith joined the Army and played for two Army All-Star teams. While in the Army, Smith won gold medals for the U.S. in the 1959 Pan-American Games in Chicago and the 1960 Rome Olympics.
Following his stint in the military, he returned home to play in the NBA for 10 years with the Cincinnati Royals and the San Francisco Warriors. He was MVP of the 1966 NBA All-Star Game held in Cincinnati, playing with and against players including Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Rick Barry to win the honors . He retired from basketball in 1972 after playing one year with the American Basketball Association's Virginia Squires.
The 1960 U.S. Olympic Team will be one of two teams and eight individuals entering the Hall of Fame on Friday, Aug. 13, in Springfield, Mass.