“It was just a pretty good combination of people,” he said. “I knew we had a good chance to make a lot of noise my first year and the second year was pretty surprising. You have to remember from Butler’s history that over the past 15 years or so, Butler has been very successful and it didn’t just start my freshman year.”
Smith’s favorite memory came during the Bulldogs’ first Final Four run his freshman year in a game against Kansas State in the Elite Eight. He played 12 minutes, scored three points, and grabbed two rebounds in the 63-56 win over the Wildcats.
“That stuck out to me just because I was able to play a little bit and that was actually my first tournament game,” Smith said. “Then coming home to Indianapolis for the Final Four was obviously a lot of fun.”
The 2010 Final Four was a surprising and more memorable time for Smith and the Bulldogs being in Indianapolis, less than 15 minutes from campus. The 2011 Final Four appearance was less expected and more serious.
“I’ve always said the first year was really the crazy year,” Smith said. “When you haven’t experienced it before, it’s pretty intense and a lot of fun. The second year was more like a business trip as we kind of realized that we lost it last year and we didn’t want to lose it again. Obviously, unfortunately we did but we kind of pursued it like that and we were trying to be extremely focused and work extremely hard.”
Butler getting to play in the Final Four in Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Stadium is something that Smith is extremely grateful for.
“It was pretty awesome how many fans were there. There were like 70,000 something people in the stadium,” Smith said. “It was pretty cool to know that many people are interested in just basketball in general. It was a great environment and being able to play 20 minutes from where I grew up pretty much my whole life was really cool. We were just thankful to be there and thankful we had the opportunity to play.”