The 2020-21 season has not ended the way Chris Smith thought it would after he opted to return to the UCLA Bruins for one more season instead of entering the 2020 NBA Draft this past summer.
Smith tore his ACL in his left knee during the victory over Utah this past week and will miss the remainder of the season.
“After speaking with our team doctors and medical staff, I’m confident that Chris will make a quick and full recovery,” head coach Mick Cronin said. “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%.”
Smith was averaging 12.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game this season, but certainly has been inconsistent this season. Of course, his loss came after he had scored 16 points and seemed to find his groove against Utah.
Jules Bernard becomes a bigger part of the Bruins attack this season and he scored 13 points coming off the bench against Utah. He logged 36 minutes against Colorado and scored 12 points with seven rebounds in a more expanded role.
With Smith now gone, the Pac-12 is more open than largely anticipated. Oregon is currently the only team in the conference that sports a top 25 ranking while the Arizona Wildcats have the best overall team record at 9-1. Arizona, though, will be banned from the postseason this year after their troubles this offseason.
UCLA and Oregon are the lone teams without a blemish on their Pac-12 record after UCLA defeated Colorado 65-62 on Saturday. UCLA plays Arizona State next on January 7 at 7:30 pm.