1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Quickie prep hoops feature

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Trey Beamon, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

    Yeah, I need to cut down on the cliches. Tell me something I don't know ...

    PODUNK VALLEY — Last summer, when he first learned Mike Smith was transferring to East Podunk, Dustin Carter couldn’t help but get excited.

    “The year before, he was (playing) at Podunk Tech, and he just lit us up,” he said of Smith, then a sophomore with the Bears. “I think he made something like five threes, so we knew he was good when he came here.”

    Actually, Smith hit three 3-pointers in last season’s rubber match.

    But the sentiment was all the same; the 5-11 guard brought perimeter shooting, basketball savvy and a certain toughness the Bees needed more of after an up-and-down 2006-07.

    “We needed one more guard and he potentially gave us another dimension on the floor,” East coach Tom Allen said.

    Despite some nagging injuries, he’s been everything the Bears envisioned through 18 games, averaging around eight points as a part-time starter at shooting guard.

    “Good thing he’s here,’ Carter said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without him.”

    But with Smith, numbers don’t tell the entire story.

    Off the court, at least in an interview setting, he’s polite but far from a chatterbox. Answers are short and direct, and Smith's demeanor is unchanged whether he’s discussing help defense or his new friends at East Side.

    However, as Allen quickly points out, the shy redhead disappears once a game, even a ho-hum practice, begins.

    “It’s his personality,” Allen said. “He’s a very quiet, sort of passive kid, but out on the basketball court, he’ll cut you up.

    “And that’s the thing my staff loves about him. He always hustles. Anywhere the ball goes, he’s there. He’s injured right now, and he’s still running around like crazy trying to play.”

    It’s a mindset that has helped Smith, still battling ankle and back problems, thrive in his recent role as a backup.

    Friday, he scored 14 points off the bench as East beat Hicksville. In the previous meeting against the Hicks three weeks ago, he had eight second-quarter points in a blowout victory.

    Things weren’t as rosy when Smith initially switched schools. East coaches and players got to know him over the summer and welcomed him with open arms, but he, someone who bled rival colors most of his life, was unsure whether he belonged.

    “For some reason, I didn’t think the team would like me much. I don’t know why (I thought that),” Smith said.

    “That’s a tough position to be in,” Carter said. “I couldn’t imagine if I did it.”

    Once practice started, Smith had found his comfort zone — and a permanent home.

    He became fast friends with teammates, and endeared himself to the Bears' coaching staff with his hustle and diligent practice habits.

    “I knew we had some shooters already here. I just didn’t know he was going to come in and push other players for time,” Allen said of Smith, who was tried at the point before moving to an off-guard position. “We base a lot of our playing rotations on what we see in practice, and he was just flat-out kicking people’s tails. It was awfully hard to keep him off the floor.

    “He’s a nice player, a good-hearted kid, and the staff and I just love him to death. I’m really looking forward (to the future) because I think he’s going to have a really nice career with us.”
  2. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    There is one thing I'd change up here.

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page