Hoops Signee Ja'Vonte Smart State's Mr. Basketball
Written By Robin Fambrough for the LSWA
BATON ROUGE — Where Ja’Vonte Smart ranks on the all-time list of high school boys basketball players in Baton Rouge and Louisiana may be debate for years to come.
Smart’s four-year career at Scotlandville provided plenty to talk about. The 6-foot-4 LSU signee won three LHSAA titles with the Hornets, was a three-time Outstanding Player in Class 5A and won the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year award three times.
Good? Great? Try unprecedented. Smart now becomes the first player to win the Louisiana Farm Bureau/LSWA Mr. Basketball award three times.
Smart averaged 32.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game and took on new roles for Scotlandville as a senior. He was the Hornets’ top scorer and as the tallest starter played in the post position at times instead of his traditional point guard role.
“I get a little emotional when I talk about him,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “Watching Ja’Vonte grow not only as a player, but also from a young guy into a man has been special. He came here with goals he wanted to achieve and did those things. He has meant so much to this school and the program.”
Smart scored 3,306 career points and averaged 23.3 points a game while leading the Hornets to Division I select titles the past two years and a 5A title as a freshman in 2015. He had 56 career double-doubles and 15 triple doubles.
Meeting NBA legend Kobe Bryant at a basketball showcase several years ago was a life-changing event for Smart and accounts for the work ethic.
“He (Bryant) talked about focusing on the things you’re not good at, and that made a lot of sense to me,” Smart said. “Some guys practice the things they can do over and over. You eliminate weaknesses.”
Smart will be the eighth Mr. Basketball from Louisiana to attend LSU since the award started in 1996.
Louisiana Farm Bureau/LSWA Mr. Basketball winners
1996: Lester Earl, Glen Oaks
1997: Marcus Fizer, Arcadia
1998: Stromile Swift, Fair Park
1999: Bernard King, Gibsland-Coleman
2000: Chris Duhon, Salmen
2001: Donald Perry, McCall-Tallulah
2002: Darrel Mitchell Jr., St. Martinville
2003: Paul Millsap, Grambling
2004: Glen Davis, University
2005: Tasmin Mitchell, Denham Springs
2006: Demond Carter, Reserve Christian
2007: Greg Monroe, Helen Cox
2008: Greg Monroe, Helen Cox
2009: Joevoskie Mitchell, Zwolle
2010: Markel Brown, Peabody
2011: Ricardo Gathers, Riverside
2012: Dee Wagner, Peabody
2013: Jarell Martin, Madison Prep
2014: Reginal Johnson Jr., Richwood
2015: Brandon Sampson, Madison Prep
2016: Ja’Vonte Smart, Scotlandville
2017: Ja’Vonte Smart, Scotlandville
2018: Ja’Vonte Smart, Scotlandville