Former Comet becomes a defensive force for Pfeiffer

Published 9:12 am Tuesday, February 6, 2024

He was a standout his senior season at North Stanly and decided to play basketball at the next level while still staying in the county.

Doug Smith, after not playing much last season, has become a regular starter and a defensive force for the Falcons his sophomore season.

Smith has started all games this season for Pfeiffer and leads the team in field goal percentage (56.2) and rebounds per game (7.0).

But it is the blocked shot numbers which have the sophomore ranking among the best in the country at the Div. III level. As of this week, he ranks fourth in the nation with 3.35 blocks per game. He has blocked 57 shots in the Falcons’ 17 games this season.

Coach Pete Schoch said most big men in the game have a deficiency somewhere, whether it is quickness, efficiency or overall skills.

In Smith’s case, however, he does not have any.

“It’s rare to have such an athlete at his size. It’s a real blessing,” Schoch said.

In a recent matchup, Smith had the first triple-double since the school has been playing Div. III basketball (14 points, 14 rebounds and 12 blocks). The blocks tied Pfeiffer great Antonio Harvey for the most in a single game and was the first triple-double in the USA South Conference since 2009. The 12 blocks was also a USA South Conference record for a game.

Smith said he felt he needed “to bump up my defensive game because I got a few (blocks) here and there, but I wanted to impact the game.”

Having started each game this season, he said, has helped him to improve from last season.

Smith said he wants to play well for Pfeiffer and “do great for the Comet family, and the Pfeiffer family now…it’s been no pressure. I just want to see everybody cheer me on.”

Having matched Harvey’s record, Smith added, was inspirational for him “seeing I have had some of the defensive stats they had, and they went on to play at a high level.”

Smith also credited his teammates.

They “have been working really hard…we’ve been working hard at getting better,” he said.

Schoch said he believes if Smith continues to improve on his jump shot from 15 to 18 feet and his free throws, he could find himself among the top forwards to have ever played for the Falcons.

“Doug certainly should put himself in line for being able to continue his career beyond college. That is incredibly rare, but he has incredibly rare gifts.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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