INDIANAPOLIS – Mack Smith’s basketball career at Eastern Illinois University has seen its ups and downs, and could come to a close on senior day Saturday when EIU hosts UT-Martin.
“I know once they call my name, my mom and my grandma, they’re going to be yelling like always,” Smith told our Chris Widlic Tuesday.
The Warrior community will be rooting for him, too.
Smith wore number 32 in high school to honor one of his assistant coaches. But, that changed when one of his close friends Dijon Anderson, who sported number 3 playing football at Warren Central, was shot and killed in May 2017.
“Once Dijon passed away it hit me,” Mack said. “I was at the candlelight. I walked off and called my assistant coach. Told him I wanted the number three jersey, if nobody has it. He said you got it. It just feels real good that number is so much more. It’s not just me. It’s really a whole community on the far side of Indianapolis.”
Now, Smith can sport number 3 as a three-point king.
He holds a new NCAA record, making a 3 in 91 straight games, breaking the old record off 88.
“Proud of myself, the journey. For a lot of people, they say all you gotta do is make one three a game. It’s not even about that,” Mack said. “More a mental aspect. Gotta be mentally strong like that.”
And Mack knows Anderson had a big role in making it happen.
“I feel like he was always there, every step. Every time I put on that jersey. Every time I step in that gym. Every day I wake up and feel like he’s there.”