Brad Stevens put “family” first last week, there which is why you may have noticed that he wasn’t lurking over the Celtics bench when they took on the Bulls on Thursday night.   Instead, viagra Stevens left the team for the evening to visit a former player he coached at Butler who is battling cancer at home in Indiana.  Stevens’ decisions to leave the team and miss a game mid-season spoke volumes to his team about his character, values, and leadership.  In the wake of his brief departure, Celtics players lauded the emphasis his coaching puts on personal relationships and caring deeply for all of his players. But for Stevens, the last thing on his mind was basketball.

“It was just the fact that the conditions were worsening, I’ll let them talk about his condition. But I’m glad that I went. It’s not as tough on me as it is, certainly, on them, but it’s certainly emotionally very challenging. It certainly puts things in a lot of perspective.”

When I read that Stevens would miss the Bulls-Celtics game late Thursday afternoon to visit a former player, I was reminded of a Matt Norlander College Basketball feature from March about a former Butler Big Man who had gone through the hell of cancer and cardiac arrest and lived to tell his harrowing story.  After some quick research, I was devastated to find out that Stevens’ trip was to visit the same player featured in the CBS Sports story and that his outlook was not as good as it was last year.

This player is Andrew Smith, who competed for Stevens in both of Butler’s trips to the Final Four in 2010 and 2011.  The 6’11’’ Center was a vocal leader on his team and ended his Butler career in 2013 5th in school history in games played, 12th in rebounding and 25th in points scored.  At Butler, Smith played his best games when they featured his biggest match ups.  In his Senior season, Smith matched the play of future NBA draft picks Cody Zeller, Kelly Olynyk and Mike Muscala, helping Butler to come out with wins against all three opponents.

After spending the summer with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Smith signed with Neptunas, a Lithuanian basketball club for the 2013-2014 season.  Smith and his wife Samantha’s time in Lithuania ended quickly when he discovered a lump on his neck causing him difficulty breathing.  The Smiths were unable to get timely and trustworthy medical attention in Lithuania so as Andrew’s condition worsened, they drove 300 km to catch a transatlantic flight to Chicago only to race the 3 hour drive to Indianapolis trying to beat a snowstorm.  In Indianapolis, it was apparent that Smith needed to get to the hospital immediately.  There, he was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, a rare condition of non-Hodgkin’s with only 2,000 documented cases per year.

Smith quickly began battling this acute illness by enduring two brutal rounds of chemotherapy.  He survived with the support of his family and friends and visits and well wishes from Stevens, Butler assistant coach Terry Johnson, and Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano who fought off leukemia the year before.  He spent months at a time in the hospital, confined to watching UConn’s improbable run to the 2014 national title from his hospital room.

Through it all, Andrew is said to have never complained, calming those around him with games of poker and Seinfeld marathons.  When his nausea from the chemo moderately subsided, Smith decided to put his Butler accounting degree to work at a family friend’s leasing and finance company.  On his third day on the job, the unthinkable happened.  Smith collapsed in his cubicle, going into cardiac arrest, and lying technically dead for more than 20 minutes.  Paramedics on the scene believed Smith to be gone, and if there was any hope of reviving him, the odds were overwhelming that he would live the remainder of his life as a vegetable.  Upon arriving at the hospital, Smith was put into a medically induced coma for 3 days in which case only 2% of patients walk out of the hospital without physical or neurological effects.   But Andrew Smith did just that, with the support of his wife Sam, and his many many fans, including Brad Stevens.

“It’s an absolute miracle. There is no other way to interpret this. They’ve been through more in a 20-month marriage than a lot of people go through in the first 20 years. I was amazed. He amazes me every time I talk to him. When he got to Butler he was a really bright guy trying to find his way playing basketball. He became one of the most confident, toughest, hardest-working players I’ve ever coached. And Sam is an absolute rock.” – Brad Stevens

Smith returned to his job with a defibrillator in his chest, while enduring more chemotherapy treatments and coaching in a youth basketball league saying,

“I’m not on this earth to go out and play basketball games. I’m on this earth to share a story people can hear. . . . Our faith gives everything that happened last year a purpose. … If I was going to bring one person back from a dark place, and we’ve had hundreds and hundreds of letters, then this entire year was worth it.”

Unfortunately Andrew Smith’s health crisis did not end when he miraculously regained full control of his body a week after his collapse.  In November 2015, the lymphoma required him to receive a bone marrow transplant, which kept him in the hospital on and off, but mostly on, until now.  This morning, January 10th, Samantha Smith posted on the couple’s blog ‘Kicking Cancer with the Smiths’  that Andrew’s time on earth was likely coming to an end.

“The doctors tell me death is imminent and that Andrew is going to die from this disease. There are no treatments, no clinical trials…there is nothing left to do…I’m sorry to have broken all of your hearts this morning. It is not lost on me how many care so deeply for Andrew. He’s an easy one to love. So again, I ask for prayers for his miraculous healing- and soon. I ask for strength and peace. I ask that you keep Andrew, myself, and our families and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this extremely difficult time. God has granted us miracles before in Andrew’s life, He has saved it once before, and we pray and plead that He does it yet again.”

In light of this shattering news, an outpouring of thoughts and prayers has come from the college basketball community.  As you start your week, keep Andrew and his family in your thoughts, and spread the word with #AndrewSmithStrong.

Category: NBA, NCAA
Royals vs Oakland

The White Sox seemed primed to take a 3-game lead over the Tigers around the fifth inning of Thursday’s game in Kansas City. But with 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th, pilule Francisco Liriano, mind who had only allowed one hit over the first 4+ innings, remedy gave up 2 runs and another run in the 6th preventing him from his 7th win of the year. KC’s Eric Hosmer would break the game’s 3-3 tie in the 9th with a walk-off single against Jesse Crain. The Sox dropped yet another series to Kansas City 2 games to 1.

What You Need to Know:

Francisco Liriano

  • Liriano looked solid through 4 2/3 innings supported a 3-0 cushion from his offense. That  changed as Johnny Giavotella scored two runs with his two out triple in the 5th. An inning later, Billy Butler hit a double which scored Alex Gordon, tying the game at 3.
  • Paul Konerko sat out Thursday’s contest due to a minor back injury. Manager Robin Ventura stated one day’s rest should be enough for him to recover before returning to lineup. He has played in 132 of the team’s 148 games this season.

Push For the Postseason:

The Sox missed a great chance to gain ground on Detroit as the Tigers fell to the A’s 12-4 in a Thursday matinee game. If the Sox want to play in the playoffs they MUST win the division. The Sox record won’t stack up to Wild Card contenders like the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays or the Oakland Athletics. The Sox would be trailing those teams by 3 games if they were in the WC race!

Your Take Away Piece:

“Well at least the Sox are through playing the Royals this year! The Sox were a dismal 6-12 against the humble Royals who appear to enjoy playing spoiler this season. Let’s hope KC has more spoiler in store as they still have 7 games left with Detroit.”

What’s Next:

The Sox head to Hollywood to take on the Angels. The Sox will be going up against 3 solid Angel starting pitchers, including their ace Jared Weaver. The Angels are 4 games out of the Wild Card spot in the American League so they will be hungry for some wins!

Series Schedule : White Sox at LA Angels

Friday 9:05PM, Jake Peavy vs. Ervin Santana, Watch on WGN

Saturday 8:05PM, Jose Quintana vs. Dan Haren, Watch on Comcast Sports Net

Sunday 2:35PM, Gavin Floyd vs. Jered Weaver, Watch on Comcast Sports Net



I never thought I would say this, viagra but I’m dreading the Royals coming to town.  Yes, order the perennial losers of the American League Central division come to town today for a 3 game series at the Cell. In years past, I wouldn’t have considered heading to the Cell to watch a Royals series. This year, it’s become a hot series.  The Royals have had the Sox’s number this season wining 8 of their 12 games thus far, with 6 games yet to go. The Sox have done slightly better against KC at home going 3-3. But how do you stop a team with nothing to play for?

Three Keys to Beating KC:

1. Beat Bruce Chen

Bruce Chen

Bruce “Cy” Chen has been a huge pain in the White Sox arse for a couple  years now. The Sox have gone up against him three times and have yet to hand him a loss. Chen seems to excel against the Sox but overall his 5.28 ERA is nothing to brag about. If the Sox can beat him on Saturday as he goes against Chris Sale, they can certainly consider it a long awaited victory.


2. Bully Billy Butler

Billy Butler

All-Star Billy Butler has had his way with the Sox this season. He is batting .360 with 3 home runs, 10 RBIs and 18 hits off White Sox pitching. He always seems to be  the man whose bat pushes KC past the Sox. If the Sox can keep him off balance, than winning this series would be a lot easier!


3. Three Runs Allowed Limit – Or Less! When KC scores 3 runs or less this season they are an awful 15-49! While scoring 4 or more, KC is an impressive 46-26. Not only do the Sox need to keep their runs allowed at a minimum but they’ll also need to score 4 or more runs in order for this trend to continue.

Your Take Away Piece: “The White Sox need to remind the Kansas City Royals that they are just that: the Kansas City Royals! Show them that they can’t compete with the division leader and pose no threat to the south siders. The Sox will need to turn around their luck or they will see their playoff hopes extinguish.”

Series Schedule Royals at White Sox:

Friday 7:10PM, Luis Mendoza vs. Francisco Liriano: Watch the game on WCIU

Saturday 3:05PM, Bruce Chen vs. Chris Sale: Watch the game on FOX, MUST SEE!

Sunday 1:10PM, Jeremy Guthrie vs. Hector Santiago or Dylan Axelrod: Watch the game on Comcast Sports Net

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