Senior guard Smith powered Vikings to best season in years
Published 7:58 am Sunday, March 25, 2018
Not every great team needs a superstar. Some teams just need someone consistent, who knows when to push the tempo and when to slow it down, who can help lock down the opponent’s best player and step up in the game’s biggest moments.
Senior guard Chavis Smith filled that role perfectly for Warren Central and is the 2018 Vicksburg Post boys’ basketball Player of the Year.
The Vikings went 22-7 this season, narrowly lost in the Division 4-6A tournament championship game, and advanced to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs in what’s arguably the best season Warren Central has had this century.
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Smith was at the helm of the offense. He manned the point guard position and was tasked not only with scoring, but also getting his teammates quality looks.
“I feel like I played good and I made sure I got my teammates involved, so that felt good too,” Smith said.
Smith said his goal was to make his teammates feel comfortable within the flow of the system. He averaged a team-best 10.6 points, and fed his average by also feeding his teammates the ball.
“Once I get them going, it fuels me,” Smith said. “Then, even though I get myself going, once I got them going it made the game way easier.”
Smith said this, along with a lot of time in the offseason spent improving his ballhandling skills, opened up passing lanes and gave him space to create his own shots. Smith’s scoring average was his best in three varsity seasons. He averaged 9.3 points per game as a sophomore, and 9.9 as a junior.
“He’s been our most consistent player for three years now,” Warren Central coach Bruce Robinson said.
Where Smith really excelled, however, was getting back on defense and slowing down the other team’s scoring attack.
“As far as on the court, I think his defense was a lot better than his offense was,” Robinson said. “He guarded a lot of our opponents’ toughest players, and then he did shoot the ball well. He really elevated his game in the playoffs.”
Robinson felt that Smith’s greatest contribution might have been his presence in the locker room.
Robinson said Smith had to mature a lot from his freshman year, but that he had an excellent work ethic and eventually took the reins as a senior leader.
“I’ve seen this kid grow from a brat to the hardest working kid in the gym,” Robinson said. “Strong leadership, work hard in the locker room, weight room, working hard in the gym and practices, I think his main asset is that leadership. That’s something we really worked on with him, talked about it day in and day out, what he had to do for us to be successful.”
As one of eight seniors on the roster, Smith tried to lead by example.
“Coming in, working hard, telling them to do the same, it was hard, but most of them got right, so that’s how successful we were,” Smith said. “Once I got them to settle down and listen, it was all right.”
Smith said the Vikings’ success this season didn’t surprise him at all, and that they had plenty of confidence each time they hit the floor.
“Back in the eighth grade, we lost in the semifinals of the Little Six tournament, so I knew that once we got back together we were going to be tough to beat,” Smith said.
It was a memorable season for Smith, with a hot second half and a four-point play against Hernando sticking out as his favorite moment. Smith was excited to be named the Post’s Player of the Year.
“I worked hard in practice every day,” Smith said. “I was a senior, so I had to do what I had to do.”
Vicksburg Post boys basketball Players of the Year
2018 – Chavis Smith, Warren Central
2017 – Kirk Parker, Vicksburg
2016 – Shaun Walton, Warren Central
2015 – Mario Doyle, Warren Central
2014 – De’Angelo Richardson, Vicksburg
2013 – Ted Brisco, Porters Chapel
2012 – Kourey Davis, Warren Central
2011 – Mychal Ammons, Vicksburg
2010 – Mychal Ammons and Kelsey Howard, Vicksburg
2009 – Kelsey Howard, Vicksburg
2008 – Jonathan Phelps, Vicksburg
2007 – Jonathan Phelps, Vicksburg
2006 – Hayden Hales, Porters Chapel
2005 – Chico Hunter, Warren Central
2004 – Kyle Richards, St. Aloysius
2003 – Devin Jones, Vicksburg
2002 – Willie Powers, Vicksburg
2001 – Demetrick Allen, Vicksburg
2000 – Herman Griffin, Vicksburg
1999 – Jason Johnson, St. Aloysius
1998 – Coleman Lewis, Warren Central
1997 – Brandon Carr, Porters Chapel
1996 – Quentin Smith, Vicksburg
1995 – Quentin Smith, Vicksburg
1994 – Oscar Denton, Vicksburg
1993 – Mark Smith, Vicksburg