Correction: An earlier version of this story states that Smith was going to Merrimack instead of Mercyhurst. This has been corrected.
NANTES, FRANCE (WSYR-TV) – Bishop Ludden graduate Terry Smith was not heavily recruited before ultimately going to Mercyhurst. Since then his basketball career has taken him to a lot of different places he did not expect.
“I played in Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Croatia, Turkey, France, Spain,” said Smith counting up all the locations he’s played.
Ten countries in 13 years. But the former Bishop Ludden guard isn’t done yet.
“I’m so grateful and blessed. I thank God every day to be able to still play this game. I just think what a journey,” said Smith.
A journey that now has Terry Smith in Nantes, France. A city near the coast of France and 3,503 miles from Syracuse.
“Last year was my first year in Nantes and we won the first title they ever had and it was bananas here,” said Smith with a smile.
That was the Leaders Cup, awarded to the winner of a midseason tournament in the French’s LNB Pro B league, but he wants to bring a league championship to the city.
“This team has existed for 130 years and they’ve never won a title. Never,” said Smith. “I would love to be a part of history.”
Since his Ludden days, his basketball career has had lows like a torn ACL, but plenty of highs. He’s played against NBA players like Luka Doncic, Shane Larkin and Rudy Fernandez in the top league in Spain in 2016-17. They played in the same arena in Badalona, Spain where the Dream Team won a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics.
“Barcelona itself was, it was like a paid vacation almost,” said Smith. “It was a magical season for me. I’m competing against high level players every night. It’s beautiful weather, great food, I’m right near the beach. It’s amazing.”
In 2015, he won his first title with former Illinois guard Dee Brown in Bulgaria.
“Everything that he told me during that season happened. It just was like a dream,” said Smith.
Through the years, he’s grown as much more than just a basketball player.
“I experienced a lot. Different cultures, learning different languages, meeting different people, seeing so many things. I’ve become so open minded,” said Smith. “For me It’s an experience of a lifetime.”
Terry turned 34-years old in February. He knows he is closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but he is not quite ready to hang it up.
“I have two more years guaranteed on my contract but after that if I can perform still at a high level, I can still be athletic and I’m not looking like an old man out there. Then I’m going to keep hooping,” said Smtih.