PALMETTO -- Jordan Smith has been known to make the most of his opportunities on the basketball court.
He scored more than 1,450 points during his high school career at Palmetto and gained a reputation is a deadly long-range shooter, knocking down 66 attempts from beyond the arc (42 percent) during his senior year, when he averaged 20-plus points per game in earning Bradenton Herald All-Area honors.
Smith had to change his game last season at Brevard Community College, coming off the bench while being asked to be primarily a shooter, and his averaged dipped to 7.4 points per game.
But against arch-rival Indian River, Smith drained 7 of 10 three-pointers and scored 29 points in 23 minutes in a big Southern Conference game. In the previous game, Smith was 6-for-6 shooting 3-pointers and scored 18 points against Miami Dade.
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After those two games, offers started coming in, and recently the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Smith signed a scholarship to play for South Carolina State, a member of the NCAA Division I Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
"I feel good, but it is a humbling experience. Around here, not many people play college basketball, and I have a lot to prove," Smith said. "At Brevard, they wanted me to be mainly a shooter and I did what they asked. But I can do a lot more with the basketball and think I will get a chance now. The coach (Murray Garvin) made me feel at home and said I would prob
ably be a two guard."
Smith shot 44.9 percent from 3-point range and 44.8 percent overall for Brevard. He was named to the All Southern Conference second team, helping the Titans to their first conference title in 13 years and a 24-6 regular-season record. They reached the final of the FCSAA State Tournament, where they lost to eventual national JUCO champion College of Central Florida.
"We are very excited for both J.D. and South Carolina State," BCC head coach Jeremy Shulman said in a statement released by the school. "South Carolina is getting not only a good basketball player, but also a great kid."
Smith said he also had offers from Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Presbyterian and Florida Southern, but only visited South Carolina State in Orangeburg, S.C., because he felt comfortable with Garvin.
"I like the way he said he would use me, and it felt like I would fit right in," Smith said.
Smith, who turns 19 next month, is the youngest of four boys who are playing sports. Twins Chris and Donald are playing for the Arena Football League and Indoor Football League, respectively, and Bryan, who played quarterback and basketball at Palmetto, is planning to go to Canada and try out for a professional team (Brampton A's) coached by Dave Magley, former head coach at Bradenton Christian.
"They are all living their dream, and that's what I am going to try and do. I don't take anything for granted and I know it involves a lot of hard work, which I am willing to do," Jordan Smith said. "Professional teams always need shooters, and that is something I can do, among other things."