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Blue Ribbon Honors Smith and Curry
Liberty senior Anthony Smith and freshman Seth Curry earned preseason honors from the Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook. Smith was tabbed Big South Preseason Player of the Year by the magazine, while Curry was touted as Newcomer of the Year. The publication also forecasted the Flames to finish in third place in the Big South Conference standings.
Smith (Plano, Texas) was the only player in the nation during the 2008 season to attempt at least 200 three-point field goals and succeed on at least 50 percent of his field goal attempts (51.5) and 40 percent of his three-point field goal attempts (41.0). He was one of five players in the nation to accomplish the same feat while attempting at least 100 three-point field goals. The other players were Mario Chalmers (Kansas), Lee Cummard (BYU), Malik Hairston (Oregon) and James Harden (Arizona State). Smith led the Flames in scoring last season (16.0) and is the second-leading returning scorer in the Big South Conference.
2008 was a solid campaign for Smith as he broke Liberty records for three-point field goals (84) and three-point field goal attempts (205), while setting the fifth-best season success rate from beyond the arc (41.0) He also became the 20th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Other preseason accolades thus for Smith is that he has been named a "Candidate to Consider" for the Wooden Award.
Curry (Charlotte, N.C.) became the third straight Flame and first freshman to receive a Big South Conference newcomer award by a preseason publication. Dwight Brewington two years ago was tabbed by CBS Sportsline.com as the conference's top newcomer, after transferring from Providence. TeeJay Bannister received the same accolades a year ago from the Sporting News, after transferring from Virginia.
The 6-3 Charlotte native had an impressive senior campaign in high school. Curry was a 2008 McDonald's All-American nominee after averaging 22.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game at Charlotte Christian. Curry connected on 52.0 percent of his field goal attempts and 49 percent of his three-point tries in 2008.
Winthrop was slected to win the conference, followed by Radford in second and Liberty in third. Big South newcomer Gardner-Webb rounds out the top four in Blue Ribbon's predicted order of finish.
BLUE RIBBON FORECAST
G-Grayson Flittner, Jr., Gardner-Webb
F-Omar Carter, So, Charleston Southern
F-Joey Lynch, Jr., Radford
F-Joseph Harris, Jr., Coastal Carolina
G-Anthony Smith, Sr., Liberty
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Anthony Smith, Sr., Liberty
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Seth Curry, Fr., Liberty