The first time I watched Sutton Smith play, he was in 7th grade. Even as a middle-schooler, Smith was ahead of most in terms of his maturity and understanding of the game. He has carried that into the high school ranks, developing into one of the state’s best pure point guards regardless of class. After spending his freshman season at King’s Ridge, Smith transferred to newly-opened Denmark High School. That move looks to have been a good one for him as the Danes have achieved great things in each of their first 2 years of existence. Smith now wants to keep adding to his game for this upcoming travel season and will also be preparing for Denmark’s move to 7A next winter. The high-academic floor general gives his thoughts on all of those aspects below.
Sutton Smith Junior Highlights: https://youtu.be/QiLWoWOkmTM
Recruitment: Offer from Alabama-Huntsville, Interest from Navy, VMI, North Georgia, & GCSU.
Denmark has only been open for 2 years but you guys have already made a Final 4 and an Elite 8 appearance- Talk about what these 2 seasons have been like for you since transferring from King’s Ridge and speak on why you think you guys have been so successful so quickly.
My experience at Denmark has been awesome. Coach Whitlock has done a great job at setting the standard for how our program wants to do things and the level we want to compete at. My sophomore year we weren’t very experienced going into the season at all, but everyone bought in and that showed in what we were able to accomplish. This past season we had high expectations and while we weren’t able to win a state championship, we repeated as region champions and made it to the Final 4.
You may give up size to other guys, but you always get things done. What are the qualities you have that allow you to produce at a high level and negate some of your height disadvantage?
I don’t really think about my size that much because it doesn’t affect me that often. The qualities that help with that in my opinion are my toughness and my basketball IQ. I never get rattled on the court regardless of what’s going on, and then I can always be one or two steps ahead of guys just by knowing the game. The combination of those two things are what help me play well at a really high level.
You’ve decided to play with Pro One in the UA Rise this summer- Why do you think that’ll be a good spot for you and how do you think you’ll benefit from playing with them?
I’m really excited about getting to play with Pro One this year. I think it’s a great situation for me where I can play well and help them win a lot of games against a high level of competition. We’ve got a really talented group that I fit in well with. I’m not sure when we’ll get started with everything going on but it should be a fun summer.
Currently, you have an offer from Alabama-Huntsville to go along with interest from regional and academic D1’s. What do you think need to show coaches this summer so that those interests can possibly turn into offers? Is there anything you’re focusing on this offseason?
During our break I’m really focusing on getting stronger and trying to become an elite shooter. I know to keep playing at the highest level I need to fill out and keep getting bigger. And then I’ve always been a good shooter, but lately I’ve been focusing on perfecting my shot and adding more range. Continuing to get better in those two areas will really help me as a player.
You guys will be moving up to 7A next year. Is there anything you’re looking forward to with the challenge of moving up in classification? What do you think you guys will have to do to be successful in 7A like you were in 4A?
Playing 7A for my senior year will be a lot of fun. It’s one of the best public school leagues in the country for HS basketball, and our region schedule will be full of rivalry games from schools nearby. To win in 7A, we just need to do the same thing we have been doing.. Our team has won at a high level every year, and that’s something that we plan on continuing.