- Faith & Family
D’ajahnae Smith uses basketball as an outlet from the stresses of life. But what started out as Smith’s outlet has turned into an opportunity, not only to lead American High School’s girls’ basketball team (18-5) to the post-season, but a potential collegiate career.
Smith, known for her quickness and a solid mid-range jump, has garnered interest from Division I schools like Stetson and University of North Florida and other Division II schools. American’s head coach, Paul Tores, who is also the head of the Miami Suns’ travel team, is hopeful for more opportunities for Smith who is a junior.
“Coaches and fans say a lot of good things about D’ajahnae,” Tores said. “With playing like she is now and will continue to play over the summer, she will have some more opportunity for some more colleges to look at her.”
“Dee” as Smith is affectionately called, is the anchor of her team. Smith averages a double-double, boasting 15 points and 12 rebounds per game and is the team’s leading scorer.
“She’s almost irreplaceable on the court,” Tores said. “I have a hard time taking her out of the game.”
Smith is also aggressive on defense; she has 83 steals this season. Tores praises Smith’s versatility and good anticipation, and has given her what Smith calls “a really big role.”
“I can play pretty much every position,” Smith said. “[I just try] to lead and keep my teammates talkative.”
Smith whose main objective is to have fun is not only balanced on the court, but maintains the same diligence and level of success in her academics.
“I’d rather go to college on an academic scholarship,” said Smith, who has a 3.6 GPA. “I think it can get me further and if something happened [in basketball] I can fall back on that.”
But Smith is not taking the opportunity for granted and said she wants to play basketball for as long as she can. She is constantly working to get to the next level.
“Seeing other good players motivates me to want to play on that level,” Smith said.
Smith also has a more personal source of motivation, her six year old brother Lorenzo, who she said follows in her footsteps.
“He inspires me, because I inspire him.”
By Akilah Laster
Miami Times staff writer