Coach Tubby Smith in his 2nd season at Texas Tech has a scheduled matchup against his oldest son G.G. Smith (Loyola-Maryland) on Friday night at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock. The Baltimore Sun had a great article that puts the contest into perspective for the fans…
The game against Texas Tech will have a different type of atmosphere, more like a family reunion, reminiscent of when Tubby Smith was in his first year at Kentucky and had to face his son, then a junior at Georgia. Tubby Smith thinks it could be more difficult for him than his now 37-year-old son.
"When he played for Georgia, when I was coaching Kentucky, he wasn't really playing against me, he was playing against his brother [Saul]. Now you're matching wits with your son, and it feels a little different right now." Tubby Smith said. "I'm a little more nervous than I usually am."
For a little background clarity, G.G. Smith was on the University of Georgia team while Tubby was the head coach of the Bulldogs. Then after Tubby opted to take the University of Kentucky head coaching position, G.G. decided to remain on the team at Georgia.
When Smith took the prestigious Kentucky coaching job last spring, his son had a big decision to make. It took two weeks of weighing family ties against 'Dawg-gone devotion, but G.G. Smith, a 5-foot-11 junior, decided to stay put.
"Growing up, I just wanted to play for my dad, no matter where he was coaching," Smith said. "I thought it would be cool. He had to move on. I decided to stay."
Just like that, the cord was cut. The cheering heard around Athens was from Ron Jirsa, the new Georgia coach.
"Going with my dad and playing at mighty Kentucky was tempting," G.G. said. "But I would be competing for a job there against top point guards. I wouldn't be getting nearly the playing time that I will have the next two years at Georgia.
I have much respect for G.G. wanting to stay put as a leader on his team. Also, he wanted to stay on a team that would give him an opportunity to shine. At Kentucky amongst the junior PG Wayne Turner he probably would have had to be 2nd string, but at Georgia he was able to be the starter.
A point that we need to keep in mind too, is that G.G.’s little brother Saul followed his Dad to Kentucky. Saul had the opportunity to walk-on at Georgia, but wanted to follow his father to become a Wildcat.
Kentucky was too good an opportunity for Tubby Smith to pass up and it was certainly appealing to his sons. Saul Smith, who had decided to walk on at Georgia, changed his mind and went to Kentucky.
Saul is now on the Texas Tech staff working for his Dad as the video coordinator. G.G. will not only be coaching against his father on Friday night, but will also be going against his little brother who will be on the Red Raiders bench wearing Scarlet & Black.
Saul followed his Dad to Kentucky, and then followed him all the way to Texas Tech. G.G. decided to take a different route and is now the head coach of Loyola-Maryland. The game on Friday evening will definitely be a family affair, and I wonder who Mom will be cheering for while in the stands? The other question will be who gets bragging rights at Christmas to talk trash about gaining a victory in Lubbock? I sure hope it is Tubby and Saul poking fun at G.G. while unwrapping gifts. Wreck 'em Tech!