James Clemens freshman Deyon Smith is rated the No. 3 player among her 2027 class in Alabama. Last season, as an eighth grader, she received numerous contacts from college recruiters. Photo- Alexis Blue

Deyon Smith: Jets’ freshman is already one of state’s top rated basketball players

MADISON- The word is out. One of the top basketball recruits in Alabama is located in Madison. College recruiters are chomping at the bit to gain the multi-facet, unimaginable talents of this young student-athlete.

“Her potential hasn’t even been tapped as she’s still growing physically and emotionally,” said Monica Maxwell head coach of the James Clemens girl’s basketball team of her prodigy.

All the hoopla is about freshman sensation Deyon Smith. At 5-foot-9, 120 pounds, the 15-year old is posting statistics that are just a fraction of what kind of player she is and could be. She’s posting 11 points, four steals, three rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per outing. College recruiters know her on the court numbers are impressive, but there’s much more to Smith than points and rebounds.

“She’s a huge part of our team offensively and defensively,” added Maxwell, in her third season as head coach. “She’s long, gets deflections and steals, plus she’s gaining the knowledge and confidence to take charges when possible. Colleges like her talents as a package.”

“I feel I’m good, but I need some work,” said Smith, 15. “I’m lacking confidence and I honestly don’t know why as my parents and my four sisters try to help me in that area as they encourage me.”

Smith is listed as the No. 3 player in Alabama among her 2027 class, so listed by Global Grassroots, and is listed among the top 250 players in the country by Prep Girls Hoops Game Changers.

The daughter of Jazz Porter and                Kellie Rowes, Smith and her family moved to Madison from Ohio three years ago. One of her sisters, Darin, is a member of the James Clemens junior varsity team. For Smith, she was a member of the Lady Jets last season as an eighth grader. She’s been making waves among basketball in the ranks of AAU as a member of the Birmingham based On My Grind team where she traveled to the likes of New Orleans, Atlanta, Memphis and Louisville, Ky.

“On offense, I’m not selfish as I love to pass out the ball to teammates and, in my shooting, I feel I have keen eyes and good ball rotation,” said Smith. “On defense, I feel I have good feet and good eyes.”

A one-time soccer player, Smith switched to basketball at age seven, “Because my whole family played, so it was natural for me to play,” she added. “When I first began to play I was just average, but I was a good ball handler.”

Smith received many hours of basketball tutoring from one of her older sisters who showed her the ropes of the game on their home court and goal. At their current home in Madison there’s still a basketball goal in the driveway as she and Darin go one-on-one for a fun game that provides enormous basketball experiences.

“I used to practice and play basketball with boys,” said Smith, who had at least eight colleges reach out last season in discussions on her possible future. “Growing up I was more of a tomboy.”

Smith is known to be extremely shy and soft spoken. When she first arrived among the program at James Clemens she didn’t talk much. She admitted her shyness has been a hindrance and held her back in being social and having communication with others. “Now, I’ve taken on more of a leadership role as I talk more and encourage others,” she said.

“She’s a standup kid and she’s learning the ropes of how to be a leader,” said Maxwell. “She’s quiet, handles her studies well and balances training, practice and books. She’s a humble kid so her publicity at this level doesn’t really affect her. She’s a great teammate.”

Maxwell added about her young star, “Schools like her practice talents. She’s fast, can handle the ball and is a pest on defense. As she grows, the word will get out she’s will be unstoppable.”

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