Mike Smith Headed to Italy With USA East Coast
NEW YORK – Columbia men's basketball rising junior Mike Smith has been selected to play with USA East Coast for a four-game, eight-day trip to Italy. The team is comprised of 12 players from across the country and will be coached by Naismith Hall of Famer Larry Brown. "It's going to be an unbelievable experience, being able to represent the United States and play for Larry Brown," said Smith. "Growing up, I looked up to guys like Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups, who he's coached so I'm excited to get to learn from him." "You can tell Coach Brown still has that fire and passion to coach," Smith continued. "He's been great to work with. Right now, he's trying to get me to take advantage of my quickness, push the ball and see the floor to get my teammates involved. It's given me some insight on how the NBA is coached and I'm looking forward to keep bonding with the guys here so I can learn from them as well." USA East Coast practiced in Levien Gymnasium from July 30-August 1 prior to departing for Venice. The team will face off against Germany's A2 squad, which features former teammate Lukas Meisner (August 3), Italy (August 4) and the Netherlands (August 5). All four contests will be streamed live at GuyRancourt.com. "I live in Long Island and get SNY, so I had an opportunity to watch a lot of Columbia games last season," said Brown. "He's coachable and he's able to get to the places he wants to go. He's a little more offensive minded than most of the point guards I've coached, but he can make a shot so we might as well let him do that (in Italy)." USA East Coast, formerly called the East Coast All Stars, is in its 13th year of existence. The tour has visited 12 different countries in its existence, providing competitive games, guided tours, youth clinics and the opportunity to travel the world.