2010 commitment Evan Smotrycz graciously agreed to answer a collection of questions that you guys submitted. I couldn’t ask Evan all of the questions but he managed to answer quite a few. Thanks to Evan for taking the time to answer the questions and I think this feature turned out quite nicely. In other news, Rivals recently named Smotrycz the #3 shooting forward in the class of 2010.
AG2 & JBlair: What made you choose Michigan and what do you hope to accomplish here? What schools, other than Michigan, were giving you major interest?
When I took my unofficial visit it just felt right to me. Not to mention that the system that Coach Beilein has fits me really well. I felt like it was the place where I could maximize my potential. Along with that, there’s the history in the program and the challenge of helping bring the team back to to top of the league. I love the big school feel and the academics are incredible. And who doesn’t love U of M? Everyone I talk to has been a fan for a while. I want to get deep into the tournament each year I am here.
Other than Michigan I was in contact with Syracuse, Notre Dame, Virginia, Providence, Oregon State, Pitt, Vanderbilt, and Washington State mostly.
UMKY: Is there a player in the NCAA that you can compare your game to? Wayward from Butler? Singler at Duke? Hummel at Purdue? They all seem to be similar size.
I feel like I am very similar to Gordon Hayward. I was watching Butler throughout the tournament and Coach was texting me saying that also. We can do a lot of the same things and I enjoyed watching him play.
Brian W: What do think you need to improve on most before you arrive on campus?
I just need to keep getting stronger, the bigger head start I get the more ready I’ll be to help win games. I was at the bottom when it came to weight so there was no where to go but up. Since the season ended I have put on a lot of good weight and am already up to 225.
YpsiTuckyBoy: What kind of goals do you have for yourself for the coming year? Are they just general i.e. “improve my ball-handling skills” or are they more specific i.e. “crack the starting line-up and average 10 ppg”?
I think my biggest goal is to just win as many games as possible. I heard a quote, “The quickest way to individual recognition is through team accomplishment.” I feel like all of my personal goals that have to do with scoring and stats will take care of themselves if we are winning and I won’t even realize it.
BlimpyBlue: Evan, fours that really excel in Coach Beilein’s offense are players that can shoot the ball well from the perimeter and are strong ball handlers that can beat opposing fours off the dribble and get to the rim. How would you evaluate your ability in these areas and what do you plan on doing on over the next 6 months to continue improving on these facets of your game?
I think that is a good description of me as a player. I grew up playing point guard until freshman year so I’m able to do some things with the ball. As far as continuing to improve on these skills, I’m just going to do something everyday to get better, whether it’s in the weight room or on the court, each area affects another so I just want to always be getting better.
Ben: How much do recruits speak to each other during the recruiting process? And, how much influence do the other players in the class effect a recruits decision?
A lot. Most of the guys who are at camps with me or playing AAU with me are my friends and we talk a lot about college choices and things like that. Once someone commits they kind of act as a recruiter because they want to be playing with both talented kids and kids that they like. I know a lot of guys who want to play with their friends, so I think it can have a big influence, but definitely wont be the deciding factor
Giddings: Did you catch the Detroit Free Press article in which the writer mistakenly referred to you as “Evan Metrics”? Do you have any preferred nicknames or can we keep calling you “Metrics”?
(laughs) I did see that a while ago, that was the first time I’ve ever heard that. I don’t know if I really like that though, my friends call me “Ev”or “E” and up at school my coach started calling me “Smot” and that kind of stuck, any of those are good. Plus I think Metrics sounds a lot like Matrix and Shawn Marion already has that one.
Duffy: How do you pronounce your last name ?
It’s supposed to be pronounce (smaw-trich) but a lot of people say (smart-trich) which is fine with me.
AC1997: In the long term you’re expected to be a prototypical power forward in Coach Beilein’s offense. Have there been any discussions about you playing center next year given the inexperience and size of Michigan’s roster?
I was actually talking about this with Coach the other day. He said that I could be playing anywhere from 2-4. That doesn’t mean that there’s no chance. If someone is in foul trouble I can play the 5, I know that I’m going to be put in the best position to help the team win.
ToBlav: What are your academic goals?
Hopefully do well enough in LSA my freshman year and then apply to the business school my sophomore year. So pray for me!
Jsham: Who would you compare your style to in the NBA and who is your favorite Michigan player of all time?
This may sound really random but the NBA player I’d compare myself to would be Wally Szczerbiak. Even though he is only 6’7″ I’d say that’s pretty accurate. Not to mention we both have tough last names. I have been a huge C-Webb fan since I was a little kid I think it was because he was on the cover of NBA Shootout 2001 and I used to love that game.
dj: Who is the best player you’ve played against?
The toughest player I’ve had to guard was probably Hassan Whiteside who is at Marshall right now and projected to be a lottery pick I think. I don’t know if he scored that much but I do remember that I couldn’t do anything against his jump hook because he’s 7 feet with a huge wingspan. And I do remember getting dunked on pretty hard by him, but just for the record he traveled.
Bluebufoon: Are you comfortable taking a smaller opponent down on the block and posting him-up ?
Definitely, I work a lot on post moves so I don’t become one dimensional.
Mattski: When are you moving to Ann Arbor, and how soon will you begin informal off-season practices with the rest of the team?
I move in June 27, I don’t know when the practices start, probably on the first or second day. I’m really excited to get there, I can’t wait.
ZRL & Sam: As a player, do you pay any attention to recruiting rankings and/or do you ever read blogs/message boards to see how fans may feel about you? Did it surprise you how quickly you rose in the recruiting rankings over the summer, or was that something that you expected to happen once more people got the opportunity to see your game?
I pay attention to the rankings, but I don’t think they mean as much as most people take them for. For example before any of the camps this summer I remember being out at a restaurant and getting a text telling me that ESPN had me in the top 50. And they did that without seeing me play recently, a lot of it has to do with buzz and rumors. I do read the blogs, I kind of used it as motivation when i was reading that you guys weren’t really excited about me when I committed. I don’t take it to heart though, and I’m not always on there but if I’m just hanging out on the computer I’ll look. I don’t know if I was surprised about my ranking rising, its nice to get recognition for hard work, but I was just happy that I had the opportunity to play at all of those camps and tournaments.
MattM: At what age were you first able to dunk?
I’m not a freak athletically so it wasn’t in 6th grade or anything, my first dunk came in the summer before sophomore year when I had my growth spurt. Later in my sophomore year I had my first dunk in a game.
The Yooper & Mark: How well do you think your body will be able to take the beating a big man gets in the Big Ten? What have you done strength and conditioning wise to ready yourself?
I know that it is a very physical league and it is a very long season, but that’s why I’m working now on getting stronger and prepared. That way I’ll be able to stay injury free (knock on wood) and I think I will be ok as long as I take care of my body over the course of the year.
Toby: What are you most excited about, looking forward to your first year at Michigan?
I can’t wait to play in front of a big crowd and be at a big school. The school I’m at now is only 300 kids so I’m ready for a change. I’m just looking forward to winning games because when you are winning life is wayyy better.
Bill: Can you tell us why you decided that coach Beilein is the coach you want to play for? And what you think he can do for you to help you achieve you goals?
Pretty simply because he’s one of the best and every one I asked said the same thing. He is successful everywhere he goes and he is one of the best tactical coaches in college. He is a great guy and has great people on his staff. My family loved him and felt really comfortable with him. I think that he will improve on my skill set and boost my basketball IQ and better me as a overall person, hopefully leading me to where I want to be at the end of 4 years.
Troy: How do you think competing against top high school competition in New England has prepared you for the rugged Big Ten.
Every night we play against a team with 4 or more high D1 players. The big men in the league are usually very good and we play over 30 games which takes a toll on your body. That has helped me get better plus going against some very legitimate big men on my own team in practice for two years has made me a tougher, better player. None of which I would have gotten at my old school. Playing here in the NEPSAC has definitely been one of the best choices I have ever made.
Paul F.: I’ve been following you on Twitter and notice you seen to like video games, Whats your favorite?
My favorite game is NHL10. All of my friends from home play hockey and I played up until freshman year so we are always on that, and even though I’m from Boston my team is the Penguins. If I’m not playing with my friends and I’m hanging out the new Call Of Duty is always in. I play a lot of different games though so if you got XBOX you can add me (e dollas).