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Andris Biedrins and the Ghost of Boston’s Garfield Smith

 

I’m going to be totally honest: The name Garfield Smith meant very little to me until about two hours ago. Smith played 73 games for the C’s in 1971 and 1972 before falling out of the league, resurfacing briefly for the San Diego Conquistadors of the ABA (head coach: K.C. Jones!) in ’73 and then disappearing from the NBA and/or ABA. 

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the name before, that it was sitting in the recesses of my brain next to other obscure 1970s players. But I can’t tell you I really know anything about Garfield Smith. 

So why am I writing about him now? 

Because of this tidbit in a story by Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle (huge hat tip: Golden State of Mind):

Biedrins is 3-for-23 from the line this season. The NBA record low percentage, one season, for a player shooting at least 20 free throws, is held by Garfield Smith, Boston Celtics, 1971-72, shooting 6-for-31 from the line, 19.4 percent. Biedrins is barely better than 13 percent.

Yikes. That 6-of-31 mark wasn’t an aberration for Smith, either. He shot 22-of-56 (.393) in 1971 and 28-of-93 (.301) the next season in San Diego. He shot significantly higher from the field in both of those seasons. 

Readers, I ask you: Does anyone remember anything about Garfield Smith? Anything? An admittedly quick Google search, cursory scan of my C’s library and look at the usual hoop nerd sites yields nothing other than the basics (college, career stats, draft position, etc.) about our man Garfield. 

Readers: Tell us something about him, so that he is not just a footnote in Andris Biedrins’ mission to disgrace the memory of Ivan Drago.

  • Freddy

    man he shoot free throws worse than ben wallace! thats saying a lot

  • GranTur

    I remember my father telling me about his free throw shooting when I was a kid.

    I was shooting at a park with him. I was prolly around 12 years old…good memories :)

  • Jay P

    Biedrins murder my free throw shooting % on my fantasy team, that’s the extent of what I know about him.

  • Daim

    how can he kill your free throw shooting % when he shoots a free throw every second game?

  • http://www.twitter.com/fuckthemets fuckthemets

    Garf was named to the EKU All-Century team last month. That’s literally it. http://tinyurl.com/yzpkg8t

  • spearchamp

    Besides his woeful free-throw % and EKU accolades, Smith’s other claim to fame was going deep into the NBA’s One-on-One competition, which used to be shown on CBS’s NBA telecasts at halftime in the late 70′s.

  • knew him

    I knew Garfield personally. Great guy and a really good family friend :) As far as his basketball career goes, I know squat. But the man is a sweetheart. And I have really good memories of him from when I was little :)

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  • D-Nice

    Garfield Smith was one of the first 3 African Americans at EKU so he is a trail blazer who endured much controversy & still set rebounding records in college (known for his vertical). He is an incredible man that would help anyone, is still married to the same woman, is a hard working modest man, & has a brilliant son. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like Garfield as a man … & that is an accomplishment greater than any free throw percentage.

  • curtis elliott

    U know Garfield Smith pretty well. I run a small pub in Richmond, Ky. He comes in about twice a week. Great guy. U should come to town and pay him a visit

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