ANNIKA WALL, TRUMPET MANAGING EDITOR
It takes good offense to score, but Max Smith Drahos, a junior two-guard, has proven it takes outstanding defense to help win games. Smith Drahos used defense to cement his role at Wartburg his freshman year. In his sophomore season, Smith Drahos shot up in the record books and finished the year tied for third in single-season steals.
As of Jan. 8, 2020, Smith Drahos currently sits at 106 career steals, placing him ninth all-time in career steals. He trails 1998 alum Rich Kloster’s number of 111 to move into eighth. Smith Drahos trials the career leader, 2017 alum Nick Weber, by only 37 steals.
“Ever since I was young it’s something that I’ve prided myself on,” Smith Drahos said. “Coaches in elementary school said the one thing you can always control is your defense and that’s something I remembered.”
His commitment to defense paired with stellar offensive numbers his senior year propelled Smith Drahos to numerous high school honors and the attention of the Wartburg basketball program, where he made an impact from the very beginning.
“As a freshman we always talked about how Max is our best on-ball defender,” Dick Peth, head men’s basketball coach, said. “He does a better job getting through ball screens than anyone in our program, so a real credit to his effort, his intensity level.”
Now part way through his third season as a Knight, Smith Drahos leads the team in points, assists and, of course, steals.
“Every year with important guys graduating,” Smith Drahos said. “You have to step up your role and step up your game to fill their spots and my teammates have gave me the confidence and their trust to do that. It’s really helped me elevate my game.”
As the cornerstone of a young Wartburg team, Smith Drahos still has one full season and counting to establish himself at the top of the record boards.