Kenyatta Smith said he was humbled when word came from Flintridge Prep athletic director Alex Rivera.
Smith, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound center who led the Rebels to a CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA championship, was one of seven athletes selected as a John R. Wooden High School Player of the Year.
Smith led Flintridge Prep to a 24-7 record and a second-round appearance in the CIF State Division V Southern California Regional playoffs after helping the Rebels bring home their lone CIF-SS basketball championship.
Smith averaged 19.8 points and 14.8 rebounds for a Rebels team ranked No.1 in Division 5 all season long. He’ll be presented with the award April 8 at the Wooden Award Gala held at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Wooden Award, and the high school winners will be honored along with the men’s and women’s Wooden All-America teams and the Legends of Coaching honoree, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. The high school award has grown from recognizing a single player of the year in 1994 to the six divisions of the CIF-Southern Section and the L.A. City Section.
Smith joins a long list of prominent winners that includes Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers), Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks), Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons) and Baron Davis (Cleveland Cavaliers).
“I was shocked when I heard,” Smith said. “I felt really humbled and really blessed. It definitely feels surreal, just realizing the hard work paid off.”