/UCLA star Chris Smith to miss rest of 2020-21 season after tearing ACL vs. Utah
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UCLA star Chris Smith to miss rest of 2020-21 season after tearing ACL vs. Utah

USATSI

UCLA senior wing Chris Smith is expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL, Bruins coach Mick Cronin announced Saturday. Smith was UCLA’s leading scorer last season and ranked second on the team in points, rebounding and assists per game through eight contests this season. Smith’s injury occurred in the Bruin’s win over Utah on Thursday.

“After speaking with our team doctors and medical staff, I’m confident that Chris will make a quick and full recovery,” Cronin said in a statement. “Obviously, he is very disappointed and his teammates feel for him. Everyone at UCLA will help Chris through this, and I know that he will work relentlessly to be back to 100 percent.”

Smith went through the NBA’s predraft process after averaging 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season but ultimately decided to return to UCLA for his senior season. He was voted to the Pac-12’s preseason all-conference first-team and was off to a strong shooting start, having hit 10-of-20 3-point attempts in a display of how he’s continued to steadily improve his outside shot during his college career.

The 6-foot-9 Smith came to UCLA as a three-star prospect in the class of 2017, according to 247Sports. He came off the bench in 33 games as a freshman before earning 12 starts as a sophomore in the 2018-19 season. Smith’s career truly took off last season, though, in Cronin’s first year as coach. The Fort Worth, Texas, native was a driving force behind the Bruins’ remarkable turnaround to a second-place finish in the Pac-12 after an 8-9 start to the season.