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Former Louisville Basketball Player Dies

August 10, 1996

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Derek Smith, who helped Louisville win the 1980 NCAA championship then played in the NBA, died of an apparent heart attack, a school spokesman said today. He was 34.

Smith, who was an assistant coach with the Washington Bullets last season, died Friday while on a cruise with his family, Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein said. No other details were available.

As a sophomore on the Cardinals’ 1980 national championship team, Smith averaged 14.8 points per game. He averaged 15.5 points as a junior and 15.7 as a senior.

``He came from a modest background and was a self-made success story,″ Louisville coach Denny Crum said. ``He succeeded at everything he tried ... earning his degree, becoming a great player in college and as a professional, and most recently as a coach.″

Crum said that Smith was ``as tough a competitor as I’ve ever seen. It’s a tremendous loss for his family, and all of us who cared for him.″

Smith, from Hogansville, Ga., played in the NBA with the San Diego and Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. He averaged 22 points per game for the LA Clippers during the 1984-85 season and 16.6 for Sacramento during the 1986-87 season.

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