Young players lift hoops teams: Sydney Smith


First-year Sydney Smith scored 14 points in her fourth UVM game last week against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Before coming the UVM, Smith was captain of her high school team her junior and senior year.

“My sophomore year and junior year we went downstate and got second place, which was really cool, especially my sophomore year because we were kind of like the underdogs,” Smith said. “No one really took us seriously until we got out there and beat a lot of good opponents and made a name for ourselves, and we did the same thing our junior year.”

Smith became interested in basketball in middle school, and chose to pursue it seriously early on.

“ I spent hours and hours, almost every single day, trying to get as good as I possibly can, and now I’m lucky enough to be playing for a college that I love, with coaches and a team that I love,” she said.

Since coming to UVM, Smith has noticed her playing style develop, particularly her defensive skills.

“My defense is a huge area where my coaches really focused and made me get better at.  If you saw me in high school, I’m a totally different player defensively, and I think they’ve instilled a lot of confidence in me.”

Since arriving at UVM, she said she has been able to appreciate the people and the environment.

“Campus is beautiful.  It’s a lot different from the midwest,” Smith said.

She also enjoys the classes that she has taken since enrolling last semester.  “It’s demanding and it’s challenging, which is exactly what I look for in academics.”

Smith has two main role models: Dallas Mavericks point guard Rajon Rondo, who “really does it all,” and her father.

“I really look up to my dad,” Smith said. “We are very alike, and he’s always looked out for me. It really plays a vital role in where I am today.”

Smith remembers her greatest triumphs as a basketball player as the moments in which her team exceeded the expectations of the people around her.  She loves being an underdog.

“In high school, we beat the number one team in the state two years in a row to go to the championship game,” she said. “It’s really awesome.  People can think you’re an underdog, and it doesn’t have to be true.  Basketball is a sport where anything can happen.”