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Leon Smith leaves Hoops; signs with Steelheads...
Troubled Smith leaves Hoops after one week

Thursday, October 31, 2002

By Gary Bond
The Grand Rapids Press

Leon Smith's career with the Grand Rapids Hoops ended before it could get started.

The troubled Smith, who had signed a contract with the Hoops last week, has abruptly left the team saying he wants to play closer to his home in Chicago.

Smith, a 6-foot-11 center, was a first-round draft pick in the 1999 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs right out of high school and then traded to the Dallas Mavericks. He never played for either team.

"Leon ... decided he wanted to play closer to home, something I had no indication would happened when we pursued him to sign with the Hoops," first-year Hoops coach Rod Baker said.

"This is unfortunate, but honestly, it's better it happen now than a week from now."

The Press was unable to reach Smith or his agent for comment.

Hoops' training camp will begin Friday.

"We're (the coaching staff) burning up the phones right now trying to find players of size we can hopefully bring into camp early next week," Baker said.

Sorry, but according to Guidelines you cannot post the articles in their entirety. You can quote from the articles, but do so sparingly. JGKoblenz


Leon Smith signs with Gary Steelheads
Gary Steelheads Press Release

GARY, Ind. (October 31, 2002) – Leon Smith is back in a Steelheads’ uniform, albeit a practice one for now.

The 6-foot-10 center re-signed with the Gary Steelheads today. Smith, a fan favorite at the Genesis Center last season, was a former No. 1 NBA Draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs, who traded him to the Mavericks. He played the latter part of last season with the Atlanta Hawks and was the first-ever Steelhead to be called up directly to the NBA from the Steelheads.

Same here JGKoblenz
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