Over the weekend two of the greatest College Basketball players of all time returned to the place where it all began.
Kentucky State legends Elmore Smith and Travis Grant were honored for their recent induction into the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame. "Over the years I've always had reminders of Kentucky State," said Smith. Whenever I was introduced in the NBA they would always say from Kentucky State University, and I've always worn that proud."
From 1968 to 1971, Smith, AKA, “The Rejector” roamed the paint for KSU with his 7 Foot frame. He led Kentucky State to back-to-back NAIA National Championships in 1970 and 1971. In his three-year career at KSU Smith scored 1,813 points and grabbed 1,917 rebounds. In his final season, he averaged 25.5 points, 24.2 rebounds and 8.1 blocks per game. Smith still holds the collegiate all-divisions record for rebounds in a season with 799 rebounds in 1971.
After his junior season at KSU, he was selected as the 3rd overall pick in the NBA Draft; and played professionally in the National Basketball Association from 1971-1982 for the Buffalo Braves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Smith was named NBA Blocked Shot Champion in 1972,
Joining Smith in the celebration was Travis Grant. They called him the machine, and that he was when it came to scoring. Grant scored 4,045 points during his college career, making him the all-time-all-division NCAA record holder. Grant led his team to three consecutive NAIA Division I men’s basketball titles in 1970, 1971 and 1972.
"It brings back a lot of memories from the glory days when we were here," said Grant. With the kind of family we had when we were here, we were probably closer than any team in the country."
Grant became the first small-college basketball player to be awarded the Lapchick Trophy. He was also awarded the Sporting News College Basketball Player of the Year in 1972, was named three-times to the NAIA and multiple other All-American Teams in 1970, 1971 and 1972, and was named twice the NAIA Championship Game Most Valuable Player in 1971 and 1972.
Travis Grant was a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1972 draft and played professionally in the National Basketball Association and American Basketball Association from 1972 to 1976, for the Los Angeles Lakers, San Diego Conquistadors, and Indiana Pacers.
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