Perry has to order an extra pair of shoes for next year.
They’re for the additional person that’s going to be needed to fill those of Kirondria Smith.
The Perry student-athlete signed a basketball scholarship to Coastal Georgia Wednesday.
“Since she’s been here she’s won a lot of games for us and scored a lot of points,” said Tyler Rodgers, who will be moving from “assistant” to the “head coach” role next year. That’s one of the things we’re going to miss next year.
“Then you’ve got her leadership and her mentorship. And that’s going to be something else. We’re going to need someone to fill that void.
“So, she meant a lot to the team and there’s a lot we’re gong to have to do to fill her shoes. In fact, we’re going to need a couple of people to step up and fill her shoes.”
Smith, “KK”, scored 1,410 points in her career for the Lady Panthers. She was the team’s scoring leader in 2015 and 2017. She has also racked up a slew of awards in her four years. She was named to the South Georgia Coaches Association’s All-State First Team for Class AAAA in 2016-17. She was an Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-State Honorable Mention for AAAA in 2017, a First Team All-Region in 2015 and 2017, an All-Region Honorable Mention in 2014, Second Team All-Middle Georgia in 2017, Honorable Mention All-Middle Georgia in 2015. She played in the Middle Georgia All-Star Game in 2015 and 2017, the International City Classic All-Star Game in 2016, was Honorable Mention on the SportsMic All-County team in 2014 and 2016 and Perry’s Most Valuable Player in 2015 and 2017.
Added Rodgers of that scoring ability: “I mean she kind of makes me think about when we played Mary Persons a couple of years ago in the region championship game of the region tournament. She scored 39 points in that game. We were expected to lose and to lose bad. But we won that game because of her scoring.
“And I think that’s what she brings to the fight. She can score and do layups and shoot 3s and bring that to the table. She can score at will.”
“Character” also ranks pretty high on the Lady Mariners’ list, said Head Coach Roger Hodge, who will begin his second year with the school when the season begins. “So obviously all the reports we’ve got, and getting to know her, that is very much a positive and a part of our program,” he said, but adding just like Rodgers: “As you know, she can really score.
“And we think she has a tremendous up side as far as potential she can bring to the college level. She’s also much better (on the court), when we were able to work her out in person, than I realized.” (In fact, KK said she was made to go one-on-one against one of the team’s veterans – a junior – and beat her.)
“She’s also a 3.7 student,” Hodge continued, “so it was kind a no-brainer for us.”
Smith has been playing basketball since she was around 4 or 5, she said – her mom played and coached the recreation team – that and subsequent teams might be a better description – she was on. She said she chose Coastal Georgia because of Hodge … “He’s real down to earth,” she said … as well as the campus – the dorm rooms were a plus – and the fact the school offers her the best opportunity to study pre-med.
“They have a strong biological science major that I like,” she said, adding the professor of that course had already met with her and walked her through what she would need to do to get in med school.
Looks like she’ll be needing an extra pair of shoes for next year as well.