Warriors praise Smith as Pringle nears return

Indonesia Warriors coach Todd Purves admits the performances of emergency signing John Smith have "far exceeded" his expectations.

John Smith
Marcus Chhan

By Marcus Chhan

Smith was brought in just days before the new ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) season tipped off on 11th January as a replacement for star point-guard Stanley Pringle, who was ruled out for 12 weeks after undergoing surgery on a meniscus injury.

Purves turned to the former Saigon Heat player Smith and as a result the defending ABL champions have hardly missed a beat in Pringle's absence with nine wins from their first 12 games.

Smith was also the standout player for the Warriors in their last victory by nailing four three pointers in a huge third quarter push for the Indonesians as they blew away the Westports Malaysia Dragons 84-67 to close out Hoops Fest almost 10 days ago.

Smith scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half and was 6/10 from beyond the arc overall.

"Smith was brought in as a replacement player but the truth is he has far exceeded our expectations not only as a player but as a person," Purves told FOX Sports.

"The way he practices and the level of intensity he brings to what we do, I have just a great deal of respect for him.

"I am so thankful to have John Smith be part of our team this year because we would not be who we are without him."

The achievements of the veteran guard this season have not only softened the blow of Pringle's injury, it has also stopped any temptation by the Warriors to rush 26-year-old back from a meniscus problem.

Pringle is in the final week of his 12-week recovery process which Purves says is going to schedule.

"He has worked extremely hard and he is right on schedule for his return. We can't wait because we miss him more as a person than a player," he said.

Pringle, who has only just started practicing again with the team, will not be risked for Wednesday's game with the Chang Thailand Slammers but could ease back into action in next week's game against the Heat in Indonesia (April 3rd).

"It's going to be about chemistry when Stan gets back," Purves said.

"He's barely started practice and although he is a wonderful player individually, the way we build our team it is not based on individual talent.

"It is going to take him a minute to get back into the flow of what we do because no one is bigger than our system and our team.

"I am looking forward to Stan getting a feel of what we are doing so that we are a whole team."

Pringle helped the Warriors to the championship last season with 18.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.

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