Rising Star: Andover Central’s Kobe Smith
Junior guard embraces “Mamba Mentality”
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - If you have watched an Andover Central basketball game this season, you will see the comradery carry this team to new heights.
The Jaguars carry a cohesive unit into each game despite one of the most important pieces being the newest. Junior guard Kobe Smith has made a seamless transition into the Jaguar lineup and has changed the way his team plays.
“It is hard to watch a guy like that put in the work and not want to rise to his level as a teammate,” Central Head Coach Tyler Richardson shared.
There are a lot of ways to describe Smith’s approach to the game and the way he helps lead this Andover Central team. While he is dominant in games, he is quick to give praise to those around him.
“We try to keep each other to a high standard, that is where our play comes from,” Smith noted. “I like giving compliments to my teammates because they are in here putting in the work with me,” he finished.
For Smith, basketball has been more than a game since a young age, he says the game, and the work that comes with it, is something he has grown to love.
“Since I was little, I just loved everything about it,” he remembered. “The sound the ball makes when it dribbles, the sound the net makes when you pop one through the net, the squeaking of the floor I just automatically loved it,” Smith said.
Like his namesake and favorite player, Kobe Bryant, Smith says he takes pride in putting in the work well before competition, adopting the “Mamba Mentality” the late basketball star is known for. His coach says Kobe is the first one in the gym and the last one to leave, recalling how he would be in the gym each morning at 6 AM before the season.
While his dominance shows on the court, Smith says he takes the Mamba Mentality into the classroom, sporting a GPA just shy of 4.0
“My dad is the one that instilled the Mamba Mentality in me on the court but my mom would always say that basketball isn’t everything so that is where I get that side of it from, shout out to my mom,” Smith smiled.
Richardson says he hopes to see his team continue to meet the goals and expectations that it set before the season, ultimately ending in a trip to the state tournament and a chance to hoist the trophy like they did a few seasons ago, knowing his team leader can will them to wherever they want to be.
“We want to go all the way, a state championship is the goal, that is why we are in it, that is why a lot of teams are in it. I do think we are on the right track,” he stated.
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