KJ Smith won’t let a lack of attention slow him down.
by Haneef Saleem | Macleem.com
As a high school student-athlete, if you’re doing everything right—your team is winning, you’re filling up the stat book—then you should expect to be heavily recruited by a top NCAA program. But this was not the case for the NBA’s Steve Nash and Russell Westbrook. And this has not been the case for KJ Smith.
KJ is arguably one of the best point guards in California. The 6-1 pg from Campbell Hall (North Hollywood, CA) has the grades (averages a 3.8 GPA, and scored a 1740 on the SAT and 28 on the ACT) to attend any college in the country and the athletic abilities (currently averaging 15 ppg, 10 apg, and 5 spg) to start on just about any Division 1 team. But lack of recognition has not deterred him. KJ’s main goal is to successfully finish high school and receive a scholarship to play at a top NCAA Div. 1 school in the fall.
KJ is no stranger to playing at a higher level of competition. He got his start with Jay Boogie in his sports program (Running J’s) when he was in grade school. As a freshman, he was teammates with Jrue Holiday, and they won their state’s championship. In the Fall league, he’s currently averaging 25 points, 10 assists & 3 steals per game.
As you watch him control the tempo of the game, he reminds you a lot of how Rafer Alston played at the same age; both have similar builds and push the ball with quickness and ease. But KJ likens himself more to Gilbert Arenas than Skip 2 My Lou. He prefers to enter without much fanfare and lets his stats speak for him. “It’s more gratifying for me to have a well-balanced overall game and help get our team a win,” he says, “as opposed to scoring the most points on the team and end with a loss.”
“The ultimate thrill of basketball is when you’re in total control of the whole game, and when the outcome lies on your shoulders.”