Minnesota Timberwolves

Nearly quarter-century after leaving Maryland as NBA's top pick, Joe Smith in different spotlight

Nearly quarter-century after leaving Maryland as NBA's top pick, Joe Smith in different spotlight

As Joe Smith walked off the court at Cole Field House after Maryland’s final home basketball game of the 1994-95 season, the sophomore center stopped for a moment to survey the crowd, tearfully waved a couple of times, then disappeared in the tunnel leading to the locker room.

Despite the urging of “one more year … one more year” from the fans, Smith knew he would never suit up again for the Terps after the season ended. The NBA beckoned, and Smith was about to become the No. 1 plck in that June’s draft.

Less than two years after Smith arrived in College Park with a persona as nondescript as his name, his future — especially financially for him and his mother, Letha, a...

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