Sierra Smith has the court vision of a 22-year-old college senior and Pac-12 point guard.
Though the 5-foot-6 Smith can score when she needs to, on a team full of all-stars at St. Mary’s, she much prefers to be the maestro, the facilitator of the high-octane offense.
Thing is, she’s not 22. And not even close to 18.
She’s 14. And most of her sophomore season, an All-Area campaign in which St. Mary’s won a CIF State Open Division championship, she was actually 13.
Smith, who last year, was ranked No. 32 in the Class of 2017 nationally, averaged four points, five rebounds and six assists. Statistically speaking, she must be one of the most underrated players around.
That’s why Smith is a phenomenal No. 5 on my Countdown to Tipoff girls basketball rankings: dissecting the top returners in The Record’s coverage area.
The best Smith moment of 2014-15, ironically, came on defense. The week before St. Mary’s beat Santa Ana-Mater Dei 76-69 for the Open Division crown, several Rams offered coach Tom Gonsalves to guard 6-foot-3 Katie Lou Samuelson: the CIF State Player of the Year and a UConn commit.
That included the 5-6 Smith, about four years younger and nine inches shorter than Samuelson. Though she didn’t guard Samuelson much, she actually stuffed UCLA commit Ally Rosemblum, who’s also 6-3, in the game’s waning moments.
How it works: These player rankings are returning players only. These are weighed both by past varsity success and statistical prowess and the potential impact these players may have this year. All factors will be weighed, including whether a player must sit out time after a transfer. At least one player on both the boys and girls lists are a transfer.
Now, this counts down not to the first day of regular-season hoops, which for a handful of teams in the area is Friday, but the day the near entirety of the section begins: with the Foundation games on Monday, Nov. 30.
COUNTDOWN TO TIPOFF RANKINGS
Nos. 7-10: Kakala, An. Johnson, Anthony, Hendrix
No. 5: Sierra Smith (St. Mary’s G, Jr.)
No. 4: Wednesday
No. 3: Thursday
No. 2: Friday
No. 1: Nov. 30
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