Meet Owen Smith '23

By Adam McDougall

I’m from Harvey, New Brunswick, so I had to leave home to come to RNS. I don’t really miss any materialistic things from back home – mostly because I feel like I’m getting more here at RNS than I would if I was going to school back home in Harvey – but I've never lived away from home before, so it’s definitely an adjustment. I miss my parents, my brothers, and my sisters more than anything. I have a huge family (eight siblings in all), so I just miss spending time with them, especially because of how tight-knit we are as a family.
Even though I’m away from my family and my home, I feel completely at home with the boys on the team here. I feel like there is a really strong environment here at RNS, and each day I’ve become more and more comfortable around my teammates and the environment that I am in. At this point, I can confidently say that I feel like RNS is becoming a sort of second home. A big reason for that is the fact that being part of a team like the one I am on has really made me feel like I am part of something bigger than myself. I feel like the culture here is already so deeply embedded that coming into it just seems like a natural progression from previous years. It feels like we are simply picking up where previous teams left off. It just seems like the team and its culture are in a progressive state of growth, and even though I was new to the team, I was incorporated seamlessly from day one.
Even though quarantine was a definite obstacle in my development, I overcame that obstacle and I am now a better player and person as a result. I'm lucky enough to have a lot of facilities at my house that allow me to train and get reps no matter what. For instance, I have an indoor sport-court at my house, so I was able to get shots up no matter the day, no matter what the weather was, no matter if I had someone there with me or not, so I was able to get shots up and workouts in on essentially a daily basis. I think doing that kind of work daily really reflects my character. I felt like I was tested this summer. There were not a lot of people around, so I had to be self-reliant and self-motivated when it came to training. I actually taught myself a lot from experiencing a summer that was as bizarre as this one, and I feel like this summer was a huge success as a result. I actually had to learn how motivate myself, and the skill of self-motivation is something that I've carried through into this year. In the past, I have always had people around me that I could compare myself to, people I could compete against, and that gave me motivation because I wanted to actually compete with them. But this summer, there was nobody around. Nobody to compete with. I learned to motivate myself, and I believe that kind of self-motivation is more important because there will not always be people around to push you. At this point, I feel like that kind of internal motivation is a definite part of my character, and it is something I am very proud of. I’m not sure it would’ve ever surfaced if I hadn’t been tested as I was this summer.
My motivation doesn’t necessarily stem from a goal I am trying to achieve – don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of goals that I am working towards daily – but, rather, it comes from how I was raised. For essentially my entire life, I’ve been watching my brothers play basketball, and I have always aspired to be like them. Both my parents are very motivated people, so from simply observing the people who have been around me my entire life, I was able to instill a certain level of motivation within myself. I understand that, if you want to be successful, a certain level of motivation is required. I suppose it just comes down to my environment, the environment that taught me that you either have motivation, that do-or-die attitude, or you are not going to be very successful in life.
In terms of my actual basketball skills, I like to think I’m a shooter. When it comes to all sports, I am very detail-oriented. I love being the guy who focuses on precision, and I think that kind of precision has definitely helped me be an accurate shooter. I take a lot of pride in my shooting ability, but I realize there is more to what I bring to the team than just my ability to put a ball through a hoop. I know I'm not going to come in and be the guy who leads in every statistical category, but I want to be the guy who is always there motivating his teammates. I want to be known as someone who shows up every single day, even though I may not be the most skilled or the most athletic. I want to lead by example even though I’m one of the youngest guys on the team. I want to make it known that I show up every day, and I'm here to lead by example. I want to get better, and I hope that that sort of mentality transfuses into the mentalities of my teammates.
I'm definitely a student of the game. I love watching the NBA, I love watching college basketball, I love watching local basketball, and I'm always eager to learn whatever I can from any player that I watch – no  matter the level. That being said, if I had to choose one player that I'm really fond of right now, one that I try to model, I'd have to say Tyler Herro. He’s someone that I feel like I could learn a lot from just in terms of his game and his mentality. He is not the strongest on the court, nor the fastest, but he uses what he does have so effectively. He is also a shooter – a deadly one at that – and that is something I can aspire to emulate.