Matty Smith used brother's guidance to recover from 2017 surgery

Central Michigan point guard Matty Smith poses for a portrait on Nov. 1 at the practice court of McGuirk Arena.

Growing up, Andrew and Matty Smith were not just brothers. They were best friends.

Andrew, 29, used to be a basketball player at Erie Community College and Carthage College in Wisconsin. Being nine years older than his sibling, Andrew said his brother, the Central Michigan guard, was able to watch him play a lot and help him learn more for his own game.

For the past 10 years, the two have trained together every summer. It was something that made the two’s relationship strong.

However, in Summer 2017 between Matty’s freshman and sophomore season, he was physically unable to train with his brother. Matty had knee surgery in May following his first season as a Chippewa.

“It was very important to me to help him grow mentally since he couldn’t train like normal,” Andrew said. “He works harder than anyone, man. I had to keep him in a good place.”

The recovery was not a quick process. Matty wasn’t able to do much until his sophomore season was nearing a start. 

Before the next season started, talks between Matty and head coach Keno Davis began of redshirting him as a sophomore. 

“He had some days where he wasn’t sure if basketball was worth it for him,” Andrew said. “He didn’t know if he would ever be 100 percent again."

When it was clear he could help the team in games, he was subbed in unexpectedly on Dec. 19 against the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He played out the remainder of the season.

“When you look back at our 21 wins last year, we don’t get those without Matty Smith,” Davis said. “He gave us depth and experience and when he was out there I was confident because he had been in our program.”

Matty averaged 7.5 minutes per game in 2017-18 and played in 26 of them. He will do whatever is asked of him in the 2018-19 season. 

“If it’s to go in there and play 15 minutes and distribute the ball that’s what I’m going to do, if it’s go in there and score that is what I’m going to do,” Matty said. “I’ve been able to have a full season so I feel better about myself.”