This week's Young Professional has the noble and inspiring duty of setting young girls on the path of become top athletes and administrators and most importantly, responsible and motivated young women. Michelle J. Smith or 'Coach Smith' is the Head Coach for Girls Basketball and a Physical Education Teacher at Sports Leadership and Management Academy in Miami, Florida. Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM) is a public charter school in Miami, Florida for 6th through 12th grade students... [read more]
This week's Young Professional has the noble and inspiring duty of setting young girls on the path of become top athletes and administrators and most importantly, responsible and motivated young women. Michelle J. Smith or 'Coach Smith' is the Head Coach for Girls Basketball and a Physical Education Teacher at Sports Leadership and Management Academy in Miami, Florida. Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM) is a public charter school in Miami, Florida for 6th through 12th grade students seeking careers in the Sports Leadership and Management industries.
Smith is responsible for organising practices, games and tournaments, organising funding for the institutions' girls basketball programme, monitoring players grades and arranging for them to get help when needed. She also oversees all activities in the programme and plans syllabus for physical education classes.
Future college/pro coach
Smith, who attended the then Belle Vue Primary School (now Joyce Samuel Primary School) and the BVI High School (now Elmore Stoutt High School), said she wanted to play basketball professionally but also always told herself 'if I can't play professionally I would become a coach.'
She said watching her players developing both on the court, the classroom and as young women, is one of the things that give her much satisfaction. 'A few things keep me focused, my God Children, my family and friends and my players and students.'
Prior to joining Sports Leadership and Management Academy, Coach Smith worked at Somerset Academy, South Miami where she was the head coach for 5th grade soccer, JV Volleyball and 4th grade basketball.
Ultimately, Coach Smith sees herself coaching at the college or professional level.
After completing high school in the Virgin Islands, Michelle J. Smith enrolled at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC), where she studied Business Administration.
Our Young Professional then progressed to Florida International University where she obtained two Bachelor's Degrees, one in Psychology and the other in Physical Education: Sports and Fitness Studies.
And while she is occupied these days doing what brings her joy, Coach Smith has intentions of eventually going back to school and obtaining her Master's Degree in Sports Psychology.
When our Young Professional is not busy passing on her skills and knowledge in sports and physical education or doing the many things that her job requires, she can be found hanging out with family and friends, or enjoying a good book, eating and of course playing basketball.
Coach Smith shared that some of the persons that inspire her are her parents, the late great Pat Summitt, Candace Parker and the legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant.
Advice to youth
We asked Coach Smith what advice she would give to young people to encourage them to pursue and achieve their dreams.
'I would tell them to follow your dreams even though it may not be considered the norm. You have to work hard and don't quit. Whenever you want to quit you have to remember why you started and keep working towards that. At the end of the day make your passion your job so it doesn't feel like work!
No doubt, Michelle J. Smith, a proud Virgin Islander, is working her passion while helping others to follow theirs.
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ - Jimmie Taylor (Branford, FL/Suwannee) scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, but Canisius held off the Rider University men's basketball team, 85-77, Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium. With the setback, the Broncs fall to 14-14 (7-10 MAAC), while the Griffs improve to 17-11 (10-7 MAAC). Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) added his MAAC-leading 10th double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Xavier Lundy (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) scored... [read more]
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ - Jimmie Taylor (Branford, FL/Suwannee) scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, but Canisius held off the Rider University men's basketball team, 85-77, Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium. With the setback, the Broncs fall to 14-14 (7-10 MAAC), while the Griffs improve to 17-11 (10-7 MAAC).
Kahlil Thomas (Parkway, FL/Blanche Ely) added his MAAC-leading 10th double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Xavier Lundy (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) scored all 19 of his points in the first half. Norville Carey (201-F-93) (British Virgin Islands/Red Lion Christian [Southern Miss]) chipped in with 11 points and eight rebounds. Stevie Jordan (Bensalem, PA/Conwell-Egan/API) contributed seven points and seven assists.
Five Griffs scored in double figures led by Kiefer Douse, who went for 21 points and seven rebounds. Kassius Robertson added 18 points, while Jermaine Crumpton had 14 points. Phil Valenti (12) and Martin Dixon-Green (10) also scored in double figures.
'Give Canisius a lot of credit. Those guys shot it really well,' said Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett. 'This was a game with plenty of breakdowns defensively and turnovers.'
The Broncs established an early lead of as many as eight points in the early going. Lundy scored nine of Rider's first 22 points and Taylor added the final five points to give Rider a 22-14 lead just over eight and a half minutes into regulation. But shortly thereafter, the Griffs went on a 15-0 run to flip the lead in their favor, 36-27. Five different Canisius players scored in the run.
The Broncs would close the deficit to two with a 6-0 run, including five from Lundy. But Robertson scored on a drive at the first-half buzzer to give the Griffs a 41-37 lead at the break. Lundy led all scorers with 19 points in the first half. Jordan added five points and five assists. Crumpton and Valenti had nine points apiece for Canisius, while Douse and Robertson had eight points each. Both teams shot 51.6 percent (16-31) from the floor.
Rider battled back to take a lead on four occasions in the second half. The lead reached four points on a three-point play from Carey at the 9:58 mark and after five-straight points gave the lead back to Canisius at the 7:41 mark, Taylor hit a triple to stake Rider to a 67-66 lead with 7:26 left. But Douse got inside for a lay-up 13 seconds later and the Griffs would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way. Canisius built a lead of eight on three occasions, including the final score.
'Turnovers and mental breakdowns down the stretch. You've just got to be smarter and be more composed down the stretch,' said Taylor. 'That's what league games are going to be. They're going to be close. They're going to be hard. But you've got to be the most poised team down the stretch and you've just got to be smarter and take care of the ball.'
For the game, the Griffs outshot the Broncs, 48.4 percent (31-64) to 46.3 percent (31-67) from the floor, 44.0 percent (11-25) to 35.0 percent (7-20) from long range and 66.7 percent (12-18) to 61.5 percent (8-13) from the free-throw line. Rider took a 45-34 edge on the glass.
The Broncs return to action Sunday, when they travel to Iona. Tip-off from the Hynes Athletic Center is scheduled for 5 p.m. on ESPN3.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Digicel BVI has announced that Virgin Islands female basketball players Mahkayla Pickering(00) and Shauliqua Fahie (173-F-00) have been invited by the National Basketball Association (NBA) to its third annual Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global camp in New Orleans, USA. The duo had recently travelled to New York for an authentic NBA experience following their top performances at the 2016 Digicel Elite Camp held here in the Virgin Islands in October 2016. Picke... [read more]
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Digicel BVI has announced that Virgin Islands female basketball players Mahkayla Pickering (00) and Shauliqua Fahie (173-F-00) have been invited by the National Basketball Association (NBA) to its third annual Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global camp in New Orleans, USA. The duo had recently travelled to New York for an authentic NBA experience following their top performances at the 2016 Digicel Elite Camp held here in the Virgin Islands in October 2016.
Pickering and Fahie, both 16 years of age, join Barbados' Tower Lorde, who was also in New York, as the only picks from the Caribbean.
They will be attending the February 17-19, 2017 camp which has attracted 67 boys and girls from 32 countries. The camp will be held at the New Orleans Pelicans' practice facility, as part of the NBA 2017 All Stars activities.
According to a press release from Digicel BVI today, February 15, 2017 both players expressed surprise when they got the invitations and that the NBA had everything arranged.
'I didn't expect this,' Pickering said, adding that she thinks her talent stood out. 'I'm looking forward to being seen so I can get a scholarship and also look forward to seeing the competition out there and what I'm really up against and see how hard others are working even though I'm working hard.'
'I didn't expect anybody from anywhere selecting me from the Virgin Islands,' Fahie said.
'The sequence of events leading up to Pickering and Fahie getting the nod almost didn't happen' noted Digicel Marketing Manager Kareem-Nelson Hull. Hull said 'for budgetary reasons; we considered not having the BVI leg of the Digicel NBA Jumpstart Programme in September. When our Group office offered for us to hold the NBA Elite Camp (in October), we knew it was not acceptable to bring so many persons from different countries here and not give Virgin Islanders a chance to compete on that level,' he pointed out. 'Now we truly see the purpose of why Digicel gives back so much to the community because as we continue to give, our community gets so much more out of it. These young ladies promised from the first time I met them, that they were going to make it to the top two that were going to New York and as they promised they delivered.'
Hull noted that when players from nine Caribbean countries came in, they were great ambassadors and hosts. He added that when they went to New York, they carried the BVI flag on a shining display.
'We are proud of these young ladies and truly honoured to have been given the opportunity to unearth raw, untapped talent, abilities we knew existed and have now been recognised.'
Digicel General Manager Kevin R. Gordon said Pickering and Fahie have a unique opportunity that many basketball players crave.
'To have been selected to such a prestigious camp by the NBA shows that they have extraordinary talent,' Gordon said. 'We are delighted that they have this opportunity which can open even more doors for them. We congratulate Mahkayla Pickering and Shauliqua Fahie, and we encourage them to embrace the opportunity with the same vigour they brought to the Digicel NBA Jumpstart programme and the Elite Camp.'
It is not clear if the players have already departed for New Orleans and who will be accompanying them as PR and Sponsorship Executive of Digicel, Katasha Melville, did not respond to our queries.
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