Print and Go Back ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation [Print without images]

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
UCLA looks to get freshman Smith in shape

By Diamond Leung

McDonald's All-American Josh Smith is making some changes in the offseason before his freshman campaign at UCLA.

First off, ESPNU's second-ranked incoming freshman center is making it known he wants to be called Joshua. Secondly, he's looking to improve on what coach Ben Howland told CBS Sports is "a major conditioning problem."
Howland said Smith isn't where he needs to be now, but that he's getting closer, and that he's going to be counted on to contribute immediately.

"I expect him to play a very important role," Howland said. "That's why this summer is so important for him, and he's working his butt off. He's working three times a day. He comes in at 8 a.m. every day and rides the bike or runs on the treadmill for an hour. Then he comes back at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., too. He's doing good. He's really looking to get into good physical condition."

In fact, Smith is so busy working on getting in shape that as of last week, he told ESPN Los Angeles that he had yet to even touch a basketball since arriving on campus.

Smith was listed at 280 pounds when he signed with UCLA last November, and at last check earlier this month was at 305 in part because he spent time rehabilitating a knee injury.

So there's plenty of work left to be done if Smith is to make a major impact on the low block for the Bruins, who are looking to have a bounce-back season.