Sophomore Kim Smith, guard and co-captain of this year’s women’s basketball team, did well for the Lancers this year. She led the team with 504 total points this season, averaging 17.4 per game.

She topped the chart with 97 assists and converted 138 of 196 free throws – an average of .704 for the season.

Smith caught the attention of the Pasadena Star News and Rose Magazine, according to Lancers’ Head Coach Joseph Peron. She is one of just three women being considered for their “Female Athlete of the Year” award.

As Smith prepares to transfer, Peron is confident about her future.

“She has excelled at the junior college level [and will] use her athletic basketball abilities to get a scholarship,” said Peron. He is already fielding calls and expects more when the four-year schools’ season ends.

“Coach P? I can honestly say he’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” said Smith.

She said Peron not only coached her team on the court but imparted wisdom in team meetings that worked in the game and in the greater game of life.

By the age of 3, Smith said, she was destined to play basketball.

“Growing up, I loved watching my older boy cousins, uncles and dad play,” she said. “That’s where I got the true love of basketball.”

By 6, she played on all boys’ teams.

Smith joined her first girls’ team in ninth grade, the junior varsity at Chatsworth High School. She played varsity 10th through 12th grade.

At that point, Smith’s uncles began to debate who was the greater influence on her game.

She said one uncle claimed: ”The only reason why you get past these girls is because I played hard defense on you.'”

Her parents’ support was invaluable.

“My dad’s the one who had me in the gym when I was younger and kept me on that path,” she said.

“My mom was the cheerleader,” said Smith. “She taught me never to give up.”

Outside family, her coaches are her biggest influences.

“They always tell you to never give up or ‘Don’t tell us what you can’t do’ because “can’t” shouldn’t be in your vocabulary,'” Smith said.

“She’s a good team ball player,” Peron said. “She was a captain on our team this year and leads by example.”

Her teammates agree.

“She tries to get everyone involved in the game,” said center and Math major Cherisa Sellers, 21.

That said, Smith pulled through in a crunch.

“Coach P always says, ‘If you don’t know what to do, give the ball to Kim,'” Sellers continued.

As far as personality goes, Sellers said, “Kim’s a character. She’s the funniest person to be around.”

Smith may be playful during practice, but she’s all business in the game, said Sellers.

Lancer guard Jasmine Singleton agreed.

“I respect Kim a lot. [On the court] she’s not so much of a talker,” said Math major Singleton, 21. “She’s an awesome player.”

Smith expressed her gratitude for Lancer fans.

“[Through] wins and losses, our fans have been great. They’ve been really supportive,” she said.

Smith plans to graduate with an A.S. degree this spring and pursue journalism and sports broadcasting.

“After I’m done with my sports career, I want to go into sports broadcasting because I like all kinds of sports, not just basketball,” said Smith.

Pasadena Star News and Rose Magazine plan to announce the winner of the “Female Athlete of the Year” award at their “1st Annual Jewels of Pasadena Women of Distinction Gala” in Pasadena on April 14.

Two time All South Coast Conference player Kim Smith holds a ball in Hutto-Patterson Gym where she played two seasons for the Lancers. (Steven Valdez)

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