This is so heartbreaking. Andrew Smith, who played with the Butler Bulldogs during two NCAA National Championship basketball games, is dead after tragically losing his battle with cancer on Jan. 12. The athlete’s wife confirmed the news on Twitter.
Butler Basketball has lost one very special alumnus. Andrew Smith, 25, sadly passed away on Jan. 12 after battling cancer for two years. Andrew played basketball at the Indianapolis college for four years and was part of two National Championship games. So sad.
“Andrew peacefully passed away in his sleep and in my arms as I told him I loved him this morning,” Samantha Smith wrote on Twitter. “Love you always, Smith.” Andrew was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Jan. 2014, and although that summer he seemed to be improving, he went into cardiac arrest in July 2014. The late athlete had a bone marrow transplant in November, but his wife revealed a few weeks later that it had failed, and his lymphoma had turned into full-blown leukemia.
“Andrew packed more living into his 25 years than most of us will enjoy in a full 75 years,” Andrew’s father said in a statement. “He lived his faith, relished his family, selflessly served his wife and pursued his passion of basketball at the highest levels. We have seen many miracles in Andrew’s life, including surviving 22 minutes without a heart beat with no side effects and his initial response to the chemo when first diagnosed with this pernicious disease called acute lymphoblastic lymphoma. But we have to count that run to the Houston Final Four among the most amazing miracles in Andrew’s short but full life.”
During his freshman year at Butler, Andrew only played for a few minutes during the NCAA tournament, but his effort during the Elite 8 round helped advance his school to its first Final Four ever. He was a starter in the follow-up season, and the team made its second appearance in a row in the National Championship with his help. He proved to be a leader on and off the court for the next two seasons before graduating in 2013.
“The last week’s been tough,” former Butler coach, Brad Stevens, who now coaches the Boston Celtics, said. “I was happy that I got a chance to say goodbye. And this is really about, when you coach somebody, you get a lot more out of coaching them than they do from you. And that’s that. I could go on and on and it wouldn’t do him justice. He was special. He was touch. He set a great example.”
Following his college career, Smith was not drafted to the NBA, and went to Lithuania in Sept. 2013 to play for the 2013-2014 season. However, he returned home to Indiana just several weeks after the season began. Our hearts are broken for Andrew’s family, friends and loved ones during this tragic time.
HollywoodLifers, what is your favorite memory of Andrew playing on the Butler Bulldogs?