Kyle Smith says he ‘fits like a glove’ at Stanford

In the high-pressure world of basketball coaching, there aren’t many matches made in heaven. A variety of factors like compensation, available positions  and name, image, likeness (NIL) play crucial roles in  determining how teams and coaches are matched. But Stanford’s newly-announced head coach Kyle Smith may have found his ideal pairing with the Cardinal. 

The 54-year old coach is known for his extensive use of analytics, making him one of the most forward-thinking head coaches in all of college basketball. Athletic Director Bernard Muir told the media that many coaches in the basketball community rave about Smith and his teaching.

Despite his extensive use of the transfer portal at previous stops, a luxury he won’t have at Stanford, Smith believes that his philosophy “fits like a glove” on the Farm. 

“I just think like-minded guys that are achievement-oriented are going to succeed,” said Smith. “They’re going to do well.”

In addition to stops at Washington State and the University of San Francisco, Smith started his head coaching career at Columbia University. He believes that coaching at an Ivy League school will help him in his time at Stanford.

“We had to learn how to cast a wide net, a global net, in really identifying the guys that can play, that have the academic credentials” Smith said. “They’re there. You’ve got to work at it.”

Smith is also hoping that Stanford will allow him to obtain more Ivy League graduates from the transfer portal, something he talked about with women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer.

Throughout the press conference, Smith brought up faith and family as the two most important factors inspiring him. Indeed Smith lives out these principles, as his move was in part inspired by the resources that the Stanford Autism center could provide to his 13-year old child Bo, who has the condition.

“To have that opportunity for my family and my son to have more resources, it’s just an honor,” Smith said, his voice filled with emotion.

For Smith, his first task as head coach of the Cardinal is to put together a viable roster for next year’s team. 

“I reached out to guys that are in first, and I’ve also reached out to the guys that are in the portal,” Smith said. “The reason I’m attracted to this place is that people are going to be at Stanford not for NIL. Hopefully it’s for the degree, for the experience, for lifetime relationships, and we’ve got to keep selling that to the players in the program or the people in the portal.”

As Stanford moves into the ACC next year, the men’s basketball team aims to assert themselves against the likes of blue-bloods like Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse. But with the roster in flux, the Cardinal’s prospects for next year remain uncertain. 

However, the Cardinal should have no doubt about the dedication of their leader to the core values of the program.

“[At] Stanford, you can be something different than the rest of the country,” Smith said. “You’ve [just] got to sell it and believe in it.”