July 2, 2004
Albany - Since the Atlanta Hawks made forward Josh Smith a number one draft pick eight days ago, life has been moving pretty fast for the Parade All-American and Naismith Award finalist.
That is why the 19-year old Smith is looking forward to spending a relaxing July fourth weekend here in Albany before starting his pro basketball career.
Josh Smith grew up in Atlanta but his father Walter graduated from Monroe High in 1967 where he played for the legendary Lewis Smith.
Walter's brother Al Smith played 12 seasons of professional basketball overseas and can still be spotted on a basketball court around town.
Both father and uncle are looking forward to watch Josh Smith play for the hometown Hawks this season.
The 6'9" forward set the single season scoring record at Oak Hill Academy and is proud to be on the ground floor in what will be a major rebuilding of an Atlanta team that hasn't been to the playoffs in five years.
And Josh is also comforted by the fact that his father will be so close in helping him make the transition from high school to the NBA.
Josh Smith said "My dad has been there throughout my whole life and has been working with me and teaching me the game and different stuff and aspects of the game. So, it is great to have him with me right now."
Walter Smith said "His game is a combination of both of ours- mine and Al's. When you look at his leaping ability and some of the things that he does on the floor, it reminds me so much of Al but yet he still has his own chemistry."
After the July fourth holiday, Josh Smith heads back to Atlanta for a three day summer training camp and then he flies out to Utah to play for the Hawks summer team at the Rocky Mountain Revue.
One of Josh's teammates on the Hawks summer team will be former Auburn standout Kyle Davis from Blakely.
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