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Smart hire: Sens tap into greatest basketball coach in Canadian history

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12.10.2019

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For the past several years, the Ottawa Senators have brought in Dave Smart to speak to their prospects during the club’s rookie training camp in the summer.

As the winningest coach in Canadian university basketball history, Smart’s ability to connect with young players has been an element the Senators wanted to tap into for themselves.

But this past July, there was a new member of the Senators coaching staff who was absolutely astounded by Smart’s ability to connect with young athletes.

And after D.J. Smith heard the basketball coaching legend address his prospects, he knew he would have to find a way to bring Smart into the fold on a more regular basis.

“I listened to him talk to our young guys at rookie camp and I thought it was exceptional. Just his view on how you put winning teams together and it’s very similar to what I believe in,” Smith said on Saturday. “I just said that’s a guy that I could use.”

And to that end, the Senators have now brought Smart into the fold on a fairly regular basis as a consultant. Smart – who stepped aside as the Ravens head basketball coach in the spring to become the university’s director of basketball operations – has daily contact with Smith and is often seen observing practice from the stands at Canadian Tire Centre.

Smart – who boasted a ludicrous career winning percentage of .925 against USports competition – has the reputation of being a tightly-wound perfectionist who demands the most out of his players and staff. Smith – in his first full-season as an NHL head coach – is known as one of the most gregarious personalities behind the bench – extremely loud and equally demanding.

“I’m not sure who people think is crazier,” Smart told TSN.ca with a laugh. “We hit off right away. I’m a basketball guy, not a hockey guy. But we see things the same way.”

For many years, the Senators have been widely panned for........

© TSN