When you are the best player on a championship team, you are, more often than not, the player of the year.
And this year, D.J. Smith of Greenville Christian was the obvious choice to be named the Delta Democrat-Times’ 2020-2021 Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Smith, a powerful point guard with a nice touch, helped his Saints (21-0) ace every test it faced this season to help lead Greenville Christian School to the MAIS Class 2A Basketball title this season.
“DJ is the engine that makes us go,” GCS coach Logan Collins said.“We feed off of his energy. He is very good at setting the tone, and he can take it to the next level when we need it.”
Leading his teams to championships seems to be becoming old hat for Smith, a junior. In the fall, he quarterbacked GCS to a football state championship. Smith was also named last season’s DD-T Football Player of the Year.
“Winning the state championship is great. We all came together from different schools and worked together,” he said.
Smith is also the Planters Bank Player of the Week because he played some of his best basketball when it mattered most. At the state basketball tournament in Benton, Smith scored 18 points in both the quarterfinals and semifinals and then topped it off with a 29-point, 15-rebound, 3-assists and 5-steals performance against St. Joseph Catholic School in Saturday’s championship game.
“St. Joe is a tough team. They are one of the toughest teams we have played all year, but I just trusted my teammates and they trusted me to get a score,” Smith said.
Part of Smith’s success, he said, is how he never lets himself get rattled. Whether it’s dropping back for a pass on the gridiron or dribbling into pressure on the hard court.
When St. Joe had closed the GCS lead to four points in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Smith seemed the calmest person in the gym. “I never got nervous. When you are nervous, you play bad,” he said.