Milwaukee Bucks v Washington Wizards
WASHINGTON, DC -  FEBRUARY 24: Ish Smith #14 of the Washington Wizards smiles during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on February 24, 2020 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
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Smith joins Full Court Press to discuss staying fit and connecting with family on hiatus

Earlier this week, Ish Smith joined Dave Johnson and Glenn Consor on the second installment of Full Court Press, a brand-new podcast on the Wizards Podcast Network. Smith talked about how the time away from basketball has allowed him to connect with friends and family, what he’s doing to kill time and what he loves most about this year’s team.

The episode can be found in its entirety here:

A self-described optimist, Smith says he is doing his best to view the entire situation with a glass-half-full mentality and use the time to find ways to better himself. For Smith, the silver lining of the hiatus has been the opportunity for connection and communication with some of the people, mostly family, that can be difficulty to keep up with during the rush of the season.

“How can you come out of this better than when you went in this time or this moment?” Smith asked himself. “For me, it’s just been a time to catch up. My dad sent me a lot of high school tapes. So I’ve been watching some high school tapes from when he was my assistant coach and me and my brother were playing together. Talking to my mom, my sisters, dad, my niece and nephews…I’m a huge family guy.”

The communication hasn’t been limited to family and friends, though. Smith says the entire team has kept in touch consistently through a WhatsApp group chat. Earlier this week, the team took to the chat to wish rookie Admiral Schofield a happy birthday. And without practices, film sessions and games, the chat has served as the new home for the group’s relentless trash talking. The team has also managed to stay in touch through a series of Zoom workouts, held four days a week and led by the team’s training staff.

When he’s not talking with family and teammates, Smith has spent time playing video games, catching up on new TV shows, old NBA games and grinding through a makeshift workout plan.

“A lot of video games,” Smith said. “Netflix – I just finished Ozark last night. I just watched the 1996-97 championship Bulls on Prime video. I’ve doing FaceTime a lot…I’ve been doing my, and I don’t like to say it, but my prison workout. I’ve been doing my push-ups, my sit-ups, doing all the things that Blair [O'Donovan], our strength coach, has sent us on top of getting my beach body ready…It’s hard to do it by yourself, but I turn on some music and just kind of get it done.”

Basketball-related reps have been a little more difficult to come by. Smith says the best he’s able to do these days is work on his form, laying on the ground, “shooting” a basketball up in the air over and over and over again. And while it seems archaic, he says that given the limited options, it’s a surprisingly effective way to keep his form in check.

Smith says the time off has been calming and allowed him to focus on some of the smaller things in life that he normally may take for granted.

“Your life doesn’t have to be a constant go-go-go-go-go,” Smith said. “When something is taken away from you, the little things mean so much more. Even walking outside, driving, going to practice. It could just be going to the grocery store, going to pick up food. Just being around all of us. Not even specifically basketball, all of us as a people. You can’t during this time. It allows you to realize how close you are to people that you might not know…You see the importance of all the things we take for granted.”

When basketball does return, however, Smith is confident in where the Wizards are headed. He credited assistant coach Robert Pack with designing and implementing an offense that is fun, well-paced and gives everyone on the roster an opportunity to shine – and made sure to give a special shoutout to the Wizards fanbase that have been so consistently passionate throughout the season.

“Guys just kept getting better and kept developing,” Smith said of the team this season. “We played at a pace that was fun to watch. The fans were unbelievable this year. They were unbelievable this year…they just brought the joy. It was fun to watch. It was a fun brand to play. It was equal opportunity. When we played great offense and lock down defensively…we were one of the best teams when we did that.”

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