Andrew Smith, 25, Dies of Cancer; Former Butler Center Remembered as Model Student-Athlete


When Brad Stevens left the Boston Celtics to visit Andrew Smith in the hospital, it was clear his former player's health was not improving.

Smith, 25, played center for four seasons at Butler University and was a member of Stevens' teams that went to the NCAA Tournament title game two consecutive years. He died of cancer Tuesday, his wife Samantha announced on Twitter.

Over the last two years during her husband's battle with cancer, Samantha Smith shared many a touching tribute to the former Butler Bulldog. Many of his former teammates, coaches, school and league administrators offered their condolences and tributes to the Smith family.

Head over to The Indianapolis Star to read the numerous messages.

"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," Stevens told reporters before the Celtics' game Tuesday night. "[Smith] was special. He was tough.

"He set a great example."

Smith only averaged 4.9 minutes per game as a freshman in the 2009-2010 season when Butler lost in the national title game to UConn. He saw his playing time increase to 23.9 minutes per game the next season, which ended with Butler losing to Duke in the national title game. Smith showed improvements in just about all his numbers over the next two seasons.

"The Butler community is profoundly sad today with the news of Andrew's passing. We saw the way Andrew fought on the basketball court and we saw the way he fought for his health. In both cases, we saw the best of Andrew Smith. But that's what we always saw from Andrew. He gave his all, all the time," Butler University said in a statement. "As an Academic All-American, he represented the best of Butler in the classroom and on the court. Above all else, what made Andrew special was the way that he genuinely cared for others. Within his large frame was an even larger heart. He is, was, and always will be a Bulldog. The Butler community is proud to have been part of his life, and our thoughts are with his wife, Samantha; his parents, Debbie and Curt; and the rest of his family."

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