FanPost

Senior Week: Joshua Smith's senior year GIF highlight reel

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Making the most of second chances, on the court and on campus.

Each day this week there will be a highlight reel featuring one of the graduating players.

From the time his transfer to the Hilltop was announced, Joshua Smith became a source of endless speculation and discussion. His talent and potential were not disputed; his conditioning and term of eligibility were enormous question marks. After whatever verbal abuse he and his teammates had suffered under the regime of Ben Howland at UCLA, Georgetown was going to be Smith's second chance.

Hoya fans rejoiced when he was granted a waiver for NCAA eligibility and the opportunity to start playing immediately in the 2013-2014 season. His weight still seemed to be an issue, but he had obviously made progress from where he was at the end of his west coast tenure. When Smith scored in double figures in more than half of his non-conference appearances - including games against high-major opponents - it seemed like that faith was being rewarded. The disappointment (and anger) over his sudden academic ineligibility at the beginning of Big East play was crushing.

Speculation about his potential contribution intensified over last summer, and rightly so. This season was his third chance, his last chance to prove himself worthy. In short...he has delivered. Finally.

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Smith's conditioning has improved significantly; he is averaging only 3 fewer minutes per game than the starting guards. He is noticeably slimmer, allowing him to be more mobile in the paint and, to our occasional chagrin, out towards the perimeter. For further evidence that he's putting in work at the gym, look at the muscle definition in his arms that was not there last season. Or check how he goes up to finish this alley-oop from Paul White.

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The skill level Casualties raved about is there too. Wasn't it great to see him go against Frank Kaminsky, one of the National POY candidates, and back him up handily? Not to mention providing defense that held the lanky Badger to 1-8 on the day.

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There is ample reason for Smith to be frustrated when calls seem to go against him for no reason beyond existing, but he has thus far controlled the urge to squash opposing team's players as if they are ants. Which must be really tempting when you can count on people to deflect off of you like pinballs as you exert your will.

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Most importantly, the level of effort he is putting out every game is what fans wanted to see all along. Smith leads the team in rebounding. He also follows through on his shots. The reward for our patience is seeing him go up once, twice, three times and finally get that basket. (Draw your own parallels there.)

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Discussions about the priorities of Georgetown Basketball regularly reference the fact that John Thompson III, and his father before him, want to work with players so that they become good men. This is not something we ever want to compromise on. If it took Joshua Smith an extra year to get his health and his academics in order, the school was right to give him that time. Six double-doubles so far this season seem to indicate that the final stones are being laid to create this Joshington Monument.

He's authoritative. He's good. It's a welcome and impressive sight to behold. Now let's see what Mr. Smith and the rest of the Hoyas can do in March.

Stay Casual, my friends.