What Smith doesn't mention is that when he was watching that video, it was at his dad's urging, the two sitting together in Josh's home theater. And, slowly, with Pete's voice in his ear, Josh began to better understand the game, piece by piece. After all, it was his dad who'd taught Smith how to shoot down at the rec center, telling him, "eye over elbow, hand in the cookie jar, never fall away." It was his dad who had Josh do dribbling drills on the carpeted cement floor of the family beauty salon, weaving around the chairs Pete had lined up (while customers were on hand, no less). Now here was his dad, whom Josh calls "a father and older brother in one," telling him it wasn't all about scoring. They talked about when to shoot, when to pass and, finally, where to shoot. "He came up with the idea to stop shooting threes," says Pete. "And I was really proud of him. I always tell him that I think basketball is an outward expression of your inner life. And I see him maturing as a man. He doesn't need to shoot those threes to prove anything to anyone. He's realizing that all you need to do is prove it to yourself."
The resulting change has been so drastic that Woodson, when asked whether he expects Smith to return to long-range launching, shakes his head and says, "I don't even entertain that anymore. He's so far removed from that, it's not even funny."
The only problem is, this isn't how Smith sees it. "Oh, I'll shoot threes again," he says when asked. "It could be next season or it could be a couple of years from now, but I'll start shooting them again once I've mastered the midrange game."
Though this sentiment surely gives Woodson chills—and not the good kind—it is at least conditional: once he's mastered the midrange. Who knows? By then it might even be a good shot. And if not, well at least he'll make Charles Barkley smile.
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