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Eagles' Smith hoping to pull off a pull-down milestone

MIAMI -- After he became the fifth men's basketball player in Boston College history to score 2,000 points -- joining former teammate Troy Bell (2,632), Dana Barros (2,342), Bill Curley (2,102), and Danya Abrams (2,053) -- Craig Smith will now set his sights on another milestone that literally appears within his grasp.

Smith's magic number is 6.1.

That's the number of rebounds the bruising 6-foot-7-inch, 250-pound senior forward from Los Angeles will need to average over the next 14 games to surpass 1,000 career rebounds. Smith, who has 2,017 points heading into tonight's Atlantic Coast Conference game against the Miami Hurricanes, bolstered his career rebound total to 915 by grabbing a career-high 17 to go along with a team-high 19 points in BC's 63-53 triumph over Holy Cross Tuesday night.

Smith's domination of the boards enabled him to join Abrams (1,029) and Curley (996) as the only BC players with at least 2,000 points and 900 rebounds.

''It makes me feel special," Smith said. ''It's a great group of guys. Obviously, hearing a lot about these guys and being able to meet them and being friends with Troy, it's just phenomenal. I'm happy to be a part of that group and I'm happy to be able to say, hey, I'm one of the five 2,000-point scorers."

But if Smith, who has averaged 8.2 rebounds per game this season, can average 6.1 in the final 13 regular-season games and one postseason game in the ACC Tournament March 9 in Greensboro, N.C., he will join Abrams as the only players in BC history with 2,000 points and 1,000 boards.

Is it doable?

''Absolutely," Smith said. ''Obviously, in order for us to be successful, I have to get rebounds and get us going, especially on the defensive end, so I do think it's very doable."

Said coach Al Skinner, ''Well, if he keeps getting 17 every night, he's got a chance. He's clearly capable and looking to shoulder the responsibility. But, as a team, I think we're making a conscious effort to rebound the ball better."

Abrams, who stood 6-7 and weighed 268 pounds, ''is probably the toughest player I've seen at Boston College in the last 10 years," according to former teammate Brad Christianson.

Tougher than Smith?

''They're both the quintessential college power forward, in terms of their physical stature," said Christianson, who roomed with Abrams from 1993-97, and has been a keen observer of Smith's career, having attended a lot of his games.

''They both have the unique ability to score and rebound and they both have great hands and a real soft touch," Christianson said. ''It's no surprise that both of them are also, in their four-year stints, part of very successful teams."

Over his career, Abrams was adept at drawing contact, so much so he went to the line a staggering 1,003 times and converted 698 foul shots. Smith, meanwhile, has drawn comparisons with Abrams for his brute strength in the paint and ability to get to the line, where he has converted 76 of 114 attempts this season (67 percent) and 421 of 651 for his career (65 percent).

Smith, theoretically, can surpass both Curley and Abrams in points and rebounds. Smith trails Curley by 85 points and 81 rebounds and Abrams by 36 points and 114 rebounds. If he were to leapfrog both, Smith would certainly bolster his argument for the title of BC's greatest big man, though Terry Driscoll (Class of '69) still reigns as the school's rebounding leader (1,071).

Smith, however, would have to average 11.1 rebounds over the next 14 games to match Driscoll.

''I'm not catching Troy and I'm not catching Dana," Smith said. ''I'm not a 3-point shooter. Most of my work is done in the paint. I have a chance to catch Bill Curley, but those other guys, I don't think anybody could catch them."

No other collection of BC all-stars would be able to challenge the school's top five scorers, who represent a perfect starting five: a point guard (Bell), shooting guard (Barros), an offensive-minded center (Curley), and a pair of devastating power forwards (Abrams and Smith).

''I would have felt sorry for the opponents," Christianson said of the dream pairing of Abrams and Smith in the frontcourt. ''The more players we can get like that, then BC's program will continue to stay at the level it has been."

BC at Miami
What:
ACC basketball game
When: Tonight, 8
TV, radio: Ch. 38, WEEI (850)

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