« Men’s Basketball 2020-21

Chris Smith

School

University of California, Los Angeles

Position
Guard
Major
History

Classroom

Chris Smith is majoring in history and is on track to graduate at the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic year.

Smith has a passion for music and says that he leans on music to help him in every aspect of his life (both good and bad). If Smith had the choice to study any subject in school, it would be a music class about the development and evolution of hip-hop and rhythm & blues (R & B). Smith also has a passion for traveling the world and says that the one place he would most like to visit is Rome, Italy.

Character

Chris Smith enrolled at UCLA in the Summer of 2017 as a freshman. Smith was the youngest player in the Pac-12 that season (he was 17 when he began his freshman year) and has grown both on and off the court. While he played a smaller role for UCLA during his freshman and sophomore years, Smith emerged as a mainstay in the Bruins’ starting lineup his junior season. Smith says that he lost confidence in his basketball abilities during his first two seasons but was able to rekindle a passion for the game and a swagger on the court during his junior year.

Smith’s top personal goal is to play in the NBA, and he says that his passion for playing the game continues to drive him on a daily basis. Smith has embraced his role as a team leader and has frequently been one of UCLA’s “go-to” players when speaking to the media this season (including during the pandemic, when players were away from campus).

Competition

Chris Smith really improved on the court during his junior season in 2019-20. Smith was the team’s top scorer that year and finished second on the team in rebounding before securing Pac-12 Conference “Most Improved Player of the Year” honors, the first Bruin to receive that Pac-12 award (which has been around for approximately 10 years). Smith was also one of 10 players in the Pac-12 to secure first-team all-league honors.

Prior to his senior season in 2020-21, Smith had been tabbed as a preseason All-League pick by multiple media outlets. Several media members listed Smith as a preseason third-team All-America selection and a top candidate to win the Pac-12’s year-end “Player of the Year” award. Smith was a major part of UCLA’s strong turnaround in 2019-20, as the Bruins won 11 of their final 14 games to finish in second place in the Pac-12 standings.