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In the video above, Dean of Students Kenn Elmore finds Sherrod Smith after practice, to hear about Obama’s game. President Obama and Smith (below, far right) at Camp David. Photo courtesy of Sherrod Smith
Last August, Sherrod Smith stuffed a pair of basketball shoes and a change of clothing into his duffle bag. Instead of heading to shoot around as usual, however, the Terrier varsity basketball team swingman guard-forward was escorted to Camp David by the Secret Service.
“President Obama wanted to play some pickup games before taking a vacation,” says Smith (CAS’10), who was frequenting a DC gym where a White House correspondent played as well. That’s how the invite came his way. “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity," Smith says.
One of nine seniors on this year’s BU team, Smith says shooting hoops with Obama ranks near the top of his college basketball highlights. There have been others. “We qualified for the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament in San Juan this season along with seven other universities from seven different conferences,” he says. “We beat Indiana University, 71-67. Their history says it all — they’re a top-tier program.”
Hopefully there are more highlights to come: both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have made it to this weekend’s America East Conference quarterfinals. Winners advance to the Big Dance — the NCAA tournament’s March Madness.
Like most college athletes, Smith isn’t planning to chase the professional dream after graduation. But like the president (whose brother-in-law Craig Robinson is a coach at Oregon State, and whose secretary of education, Arne Duncan, is an old hoops buddy Smith also played with at Camp David), he expects basketball to remain a big part of his life for as long as he can drive the lane.
The women Terriers (ranked third) play UMBC in the America East quarterfinals on Friday, March 5, at 2:15 p.m. at the University of Hartford's Chase Family Arena. The men (ranked fourth) take on Hartford, also at Hartford, on Saturday, March 6, at 2:15 p.m. Winners advance to the semifinal round on Sunday, and with a second win, to the finals, on Saturday, March 13. All season ticket holders with the Terrier-2 Pack are entitled to one ticket for the American East Conference tournament.