Alcorn’s Larry Smith to be inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame
Larry Smith’s revered basketball career just soared to new heights.
Smith, a Rolling Fork, Mississippi native, will be inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His induction was announced at a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi earlier today.
“We would like to congratulate Larry for being selected for induction into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame,” said Alcorn’s Director of Athletics Derek Horne. “Larry has been a great ambassador for Alcorn and the state of Mississippi. We are extremely proud of him and look forward to celebrating his enshrinement.”
Smith was a standout player during his days at Alcorn. He led all Division I players in rebounding by averaging 15.1 per game. He also averaged 20.1 points per game. He was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s (SWAC) Player and Athlete of the Year in his final two seasons. In four years, he scored 1,852 points (16.7 points per game) and snatched 1,234 rebounds (11.1 rebounds per game).
“Alcorn was the perfect place for me,” recalls a seriously competitive Larry Smith. “Alcorn gave me the confidence I needed to succeed and I’m blessed to have been surrounded by tremendous people like Coach Davey Whitney and Coach Lonnie Walker. Alcorn gave me many outstanding opportunities that prepared me for my future.”
The Golden State Warriors drafted Smith with the 24th pick in the 1980 NBA Draft. He was selected to the 1981 All-Rookie Team. Known as “Mr. Mean” for his serious demeanor, Smith was one of the league’s top rebounders in the 1980s. He ranks third in Warriors’ franchise history behind Nate Thurmond and Wilt Chamberlain with 6,440 rebounds. Smith played in the NBA for 13 years (1980-1993) with the Warriors, the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs.
Smith worked as an assistant coach under Rudy Tomjanovich with the Rockets from 1993 until 2002, helping them capture their back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995. After coaching for the Rockets for 10 years, Smith was hired as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks in 2003. In 2004, the Los Angeles Lakers hired him. Smith returned home to lead the Alcorn Men’s basketball team as head coach from 2008 to 2011. He currently serves as the director of athletic development at Alcorn.
Smith inherited his love for the game from his high school coach, George Willis, who was a well-known Alcornite, in Hollandale, Miss.
“I’m speechless and all of this is overwhelming to me, to realize how far I’ve come as a student of the game and a person. I’m just grateful to everyone, especially my wife and family, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, my Alcorn family, friends and supporters. Thank you so much.”