By Pete Barrett
The Baltimore Sun
8:00 AM EST, February 14, 2014
Life is a lot different for Worth Smith than many undergraduates across the nation. The Navy junior men's basketball player's life is very regimented.
Every day, the Navy forward wakes up, showers and he shaves. He dresses sharp, and makes sure his shoes are clean.
At 7 a.m., Smith heads to formation, then breakfast, then class from 7:55 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., and lunch.
Between lunch and class resuming, Smith and his teammates watch film.
Once class ends, around 3:30 p.m., he goes straight to practice, then back to formation, dinner, and study time.
“There is a lot of stuff you have to do, a lot of stuff on your plate, and they expect you to be able to do it all,” Smith said.
Initially, when then-Navy head coach Billy Lange approached Smith about playing for the Midshipmen, he balked.
“I told him I didn’t want to come,” said Smith, who played at Charlotte Christian High School in North Carolina. “I didn’t know much about a military school. I didn’t really see myself doing that. But he kept talking to me, and I realized that the Naval Academy was actually a big deal. They are prestigious, there are a lot of opportunities coming out of it. I like to travel, the Navy definitely offered me the chance to travel, and a guaranteed job coming out. I liked the security of it.”
But while the 6-foot-6, 202-pound Smith has positioned himself for a fruitful career, the basketball teams he has played on have not experienced much success.
When he was a freshman, the Midshipmen were 3-26 overall, and held winless in the Patriot League. His sophomore year they finished 8-23 with two conference wins.
This year, although improved, Navy is just 8-16 overall and has a 3-10 conference record.
“I feel like we can do better,” Smith said this week. “A lot of games are close games and I know we have a good team. We should have won some games that we lost but it's in the past, we can't change it now. So the only thing we can do is work on the things we can. The Army game was big for us to kind of get things going.”
Smith scored 23 points, 17 of which came in the second half, in Navy's 79-57 victory over Army on Saturday. But his 10 points were not enough Wednesday, as Bucknell defeated Navy by 21.
Heading into the weekend, Navy sits in a three-way tie for eighth in the Patriot League.
“We want to finish in the top six,” Smith said. “We don't want to be seven, eight, nine, 10. We don't want to be in a place where we have to play four games in order to get to the NCAA tournament rather than three games.
“It doesn't matter if a team is quick and good in the beginning of the year, what really matters is at the end. You could take that in life, things aren't going well, you gotta keep going, work on the things you can work on, focus on the things that you can control, and when the time comes you should be ready and prepare yourself properly.”
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