You knew Flintridge Prep’s Kenyatta Smith was going to be something special this year. As a sophomore last year, the 6-foot-5 lanky center showed promise of being a true post player with an intimidating presence.
I got a chance to see him play last week and I’ll tell you what: He’s the real deal. Smith is now a 6-foot-7, 265 pound virtual wall. Smith not only gets his touches and points, but the mere fact he’s standing in the paint goes to the Rebels’ advantage. His mere presence means opposing teams have to alter their shots, and driving inside? Forget about it.
Smith finished with five blocked shots last week in a 49-45 win over Maranatha. What an intense game, just ask Maranatha coach Tim Godley. Smith’s third block came with 4:54 left in the second quarter and Maranatha’s Robert Schneider driving in. Smith calmly extended his arms high and swatted the ball with such force it hit one of the officials standing on the baseline. That brought the home crowd to its feet. Smith did it again with 1:19 left in the second quarter, this time blocking Andrew Elffers’ shot and the ball hitting the other official. He finished with 15 points and six rebounds and dunked twice, the first coming in the first half with a thunderous two-handed slam.
There are a select few prolific players in our area you’re going to want to see this year, and Smith is definitely near the top of the list. If you’re free Saturday afternoon you’re going to want to check out Pasadena Poly (12-2, 1-0) at Flintridge Prep (11-4, 2-0) at 4 p.m.
The 2:30 p.m. game between the girls will also be a good one. The Panthers are 10-2 overall and 2-0 in league and the Rebels are 13-4 overall and 3-0 in league.
Talk about a showdown, that’s for sure. And yes, we plan on covering the game.