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Iowa History Daily: April 7 - Don Smith Dominates Down Low

Iowa History Daily: On April 7, 1947, legendary Iowa State center Don Smith (Zaid Abdul-Aziz) was born. The 6’9” All-American and 1968 Big 8 Player of the Year left a legacy of dominance while starring for the Cyclones.

Born and raised in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn, New York, Smith arrived in Ames with an assist from fellow-New Yorker and Cyclone great Hank Whitney. Spotted by Whitney at a local YMCA, Iowa State coach Glen Anderson recruited Smith after a call from the former Cyclones star. Smith soon arrived in Ames and proved worth the call.

A combination of skill, size, and speed, Smith dominated following his NCAA required freshman year to capture Big 8 Sophomore of the Year honors for the 1965-1966 season. As a junior, Smith continued to grow his game and led the conference in scoring with 24.8 points per game. He also notched over 600 rebounds during his junior campaign. By the close of his career he put up 1,672 points and pulled down 1,025 rebounds.

During his senior season, Smith went toe-to-toe with all-time basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Performing admirably, Smith recorded 33 points in the loss. So dominant the Cyclones raised his jersey to the rafters for retirement on his senior night in 1968, Smith went fifth in the NBA Draft. During the course of a professional career with six different franchises, he changed his name to Zaid Abdul-Aziz during 1976. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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