June 7, 2011

Smith makes his decision

Kevin McCarthy

News out of Northern California is that Chico High's Sterling Smith is headed to the Palmetto State.

photo of Sterling Smith

A 6-foot-4 senior backcourter who averaged 23.5 points and 11.5 rebounds a game this past season, Smith was the engine driving Chico High basketball to a sparkling 13-0 league and 27-2 overall record.

The 17-year-old has displayed a degree of recruiting process patience far beyond his young chronological age, even with interest growing from the likes of Utah, Colorado and Eastern Washington. He eventually decided that a prep year and greater national exposure was the path to take and he has committed to St. Ignatios Prep in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

"They were recruiting me the hardest and it gives me another year to develop and the chance to be exposed to some different college coaches," Smith explained.

He added, "My goal has always been to play D-1 and what [geographic] location that is doesn't really matter to me."

Coach Lee Thalassinos heads the Ignatios program and school, one in which students can take college accredited transfer classes while playing against the likes of Oak Hill Academy and Fork Union Military Academy, two very well known schools and basketball programs.

It looks like Smith will be used as a combo guard.

What will help in the transition is that he has an uncle and aunt residing in Gainesville, Florida, about 350 miles away.

The plan is to head to Spartanburg in mid-August -- he's taking an official visit in late June -- so the time between now and then will be spent on rehabilitating an injury and working in the weight room to add strength.