With about 15 games left in his first season playing in Belgium, Vandalia native Mike Smith has helped his Liege Basket team move into fourth place with a chance to make the playoffs. The last game of the season is May 10.
Smith leads his team in scoring and is fourth in the league with 17.2 points per game. He’s just .3 points away from being the league leader.
He’s also averaging 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
Smith credits his success to work in the offseason.
“I’m just being confident in my game,” he said. “…I worked extremely hard this summer with my brother Matt to improve my game and it is showing this season. I am having one of the best season’s of my career this year and I hope to finish the season strong with a run at the championship.”
Smith did recently suffer a slight ankle sprain that caused him to miss just one game.
Smith’s team recently had a nine game winning streak.
“We take pride in defending and as long as we defend each night, we have a good possibility of winning, “ Smith said.
He said he’s enjoyed his experience living in Europe this year.
“I have enjoyed the free time our coach has allowed us to have,” Smith said. “It has given me the opportunity to travel Europe a little bit more to see the different countries.”
Though Smith’s main priority is to help his team reach its goals this season, he is also thinking about what may be ahead for him for the rest of the year.
He has already been offered a contract by Liege Basket to return next year.
This summer he hopes to get a chance to play in the NBA Summer League.
He said if things don’t work out in the states, he also has opportunities to play in Spain, Italy, return to Belgium, or play in Turkey.
“It will come down to working with my agent to see what is the best possible situation for me,” Smith said.
Smith will be coming to the states in June regardless of his professional plans when Van-Far celebrates the 10th anniversary of the state championship basketball team. The event is scheduled for June 21.
He is also hosting his 3rd Annual Mike Smith Camp from June 4-7.
“I am so excited to get to see some of my teammates, coaches, and fans from high school,” he said. “Some of these guys I haven’t seen in a while so it will be a fun night for everyone who attends. I am looking forward to sharing some of the memories we made together as a team that year. I’m definitely looking forward to that day! I hope everyone can make it.”