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Smith taking game to Virginia State

South Boston News / June 05, 2017
James Smith had a variety of options for college basketball.

The Comet senior has decided to follow two family members and attend Virginia State University in Petersburg. The fit for basketball should be very good, as well.

Smith considered the possibility of walking on at several NCAA Division 1 schools. VSU stepped in with an attractive financial aid package. The school is also relatively close to South Boston. Smith’s two sisters, Jamiesha and Jamilia, attended VSU, playing softball.

“They’re building new facilities, they’ve been really good the last few years there. My sisters graduated from there …four years ago,” said Smith.

Smith also believes he can make an impact after talking with the coaching staff. Lonnie Blow Jr. is the head coach.

“They’ve got one senior point guard. We talked and he was saying that he feels like I could come in and start if I worked hard enough,” said Smith.

Smith plans to play point guard. His plan is to score as needed, but also wants to mesh with the lineup and make other players better.

Smith said VSU was the best fit, with the chance to get significant playing time. He looked at about eight schools overall.

He’s also excited about playing in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a tradition-laden conference with a legacy of competitive basketball.

Smith said his goals are to win championships, extend his basketball career and get an education. He plans to study physical education. Smith has an eye towards getting into coaching after his college career.

Comet coach Sterling Williams was pleased with the announcement.

“We always knew he was going to be good. It’s just a testament to his hard work and dedication and preparation for this. He’s prepared himself long before this year for this opportunity.

“All his hard work is just paying off,” said Williams.

Williams said a full ride to play a sport he loves is a blessing.

“So many kids would love to be in his position, playing college basketball on the Division II level. It’s a real accomplishment,” Williams said.

Williams said VSU has upgraded its program and said this will be a good fit for Smith. The family and friends can see the games nearby and some former teammates will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

James Smith Sr., now the current HCMS girls’ basketball coach, was one of the best athletes in school history and a terrific guard for Comet basketball.

He’s excited to see his son get this opportunity.

Smith’s sisters are now in the Richmond area, and the family will have the opportunity to get together to see the former Smith play.

The elder Smith, who also worked closely with his wife, Norma, also noted the current Comet standout had almost ten offers. Longwood and VCU presented walk on opportunities, but Smith was more comfortable with the VSU fit.

The VSU coach seems to think Smith help the Trojans in his first season.

Virginia State went into the CIAA tournament this season as the no. 2 seed in the Northern Division.

The Trojans finished 22-6 on the season after losing to Fayetteville State in the postseason tournament.

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