Lawrence “Snuffy” Smith played some outstanding basketball during his college career at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. Smith, 60, will be recognized for his basketball exploits as an inductee into the Shaw University Athletic Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held on Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Willie E. Gary Student Union Ballroom on the Shaw University campus.
“I’m really excited about going into the hall of fame,” Smith said. “It’s quite an honor. I was able to play some good basketball down there. Shaw plays in the CIAA [Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association]. The league has a lot of great teams.”
The CIAA is the oldest Black college sports conference in the country. Smith was well-prepared for the competition growing up in South Philadelphia where he developed his basketball skills on the playgrounds. Smith played at Landreth School in South Philly and Christian Street YMCA. He played his scholastic basketball at Ben Franklin High School. He played for Electrons head coach George Blair who later coached at Shaw University.
“I grew up playing in South Philly,” Smith said. “We had a lot of good players in South Philly like Andre McCarter, Kevin Washington, and Roland “Tree” Grant. I went to Barrett Junior High School and played basketball there. I remember watching guys like Earl Monroe, Bobby Lewis and Dave Riddick played the game. I had guys like Claude Gross and Tee Shields who helped me in the Sonny Hill League. When I was in high school, there were some good players in the city.”
Smith was a member of the 1971 All-Public League basketball team. He was a member of the Sonny Hill League championship team that included former NBA and collegiate stars Andre McCarter, Joe Bryant, Maurice Lucas and Maurice Howard. Smith received the Most Dedicated Player award that summer in the Sonny Hill League.
“I always enjoyed playing in the Sonny Hill League,” Smith said.”I remember going down to Shaw during the summer, but coming back in time to play in the playoffs. I remember Herm Rogul [former Bulletin and Philadelphia Tribune columnist] writing about me coming back to play in the league. I had a lot of fun.”
Philadelphia has been well represented in the CIAA over the years. Smith played for the Bears from 1971-75. Three of those years, he was the captain of the Shaw University basketball team.
“I remember a lot of the players from Philly who played in the CIAA,” Smith said. “Lynn Greer played for Virginia State. Derek Wallace played for Johnson C. Smith. Willie Youngblood played for Hampton. The CIAA tournament is big every year. They have some great crowds at the tournament.”
In addition to Smith, Shaw University has certainly had its share of Philadelphia basketball players over the years such as brothers David and Carl Lacy and Ronald “Flip” Murray.
“Flip had a career down there,” Smith said. “They did well in the CIAA tournament and went along way in the NCAA [Division II Final Four] tournament. He also played in the NBA.”
Smith graduated from Shaw University in 1975 with honors (Cum Laude). He majored in business administration and economics/public administration. Smith has worked 38 years in the insurance industry. He currently works as an IT manager for Metlife. Smith resides in Williamstown, N.J. and is married to Vivian Smith of Baltimore, Md. They have one son, Lawrence Smith II. He’s done extremely well on and off the court.
“I had a great time at Shaw,” said Smith, who is an active member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Shaw University Alumni Association. “It was a good experience for me. It’s just really an honor to go into the hall of fame. I really appreciate it.”