Loading...
I got the surprise of my life when people were complaining about a DR editorial. You mean the BYH column is not the...

Getting to know Grant Smith

070119-Grant Smith

North Pitt boys basketball coach Grant Smith.

Loading…

By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Monday, July 1, 2019

BETHEL — Grant Smith became the newest boys’ basketball coach in Pitt County last week when he was announced as the next leader of the North Pitt program.

The Panthers were looking for a rebuild after missing out on the playoffs in the 2018-19 season, and athletic director Matt Goddard believes he has found the man who will once again lead NP to the postseason.

Before taking the job with the Panthers, Smith spent four seasons at West Montgomery High School in Mt. Gilead. His 2018 squad made the 1-A state playoffs but fell in the first round. He is finalizing his nearly three-hour move to Pitt County, where he also will work off-campus at Physicians East in Greenville.

“Actually (the move) wasn’t as hard as you would think,” Smith said during his introductory news conference. “A couple of things stuck out. Students who were not involved in the process actually welcomed me. They didn’t know who I was, so that was attractive to me. Principal (Maurice) Harris and his commitment to creating a culture of learning was also impressive. I love basketball, that’s my passion, but it is also a tool to develop young guys into young men.”

Smith joked when asked what style of play he would bring to Bethel, saying he didn’t want to release his entire plan, but stated he simply wanted to focus on defense in a time where basketball has changed its primary focus to increased scoring and shooting.

“(Focusing on defense) requires a culture change,” he said. “To be honest, if you want to influence and change behavior you have to influence the way the guys think about that behavior, in this case playing defense or the lack of defense. So my focus is primarily on the defensive side because defense leads to offense, especially with pressure. I don’t want to give up too much of my strategy, but I’m going to be honest, we’re going to apply pressure all over the court in a variety of ways.”

Smith said the key to applying his hard-nosed style of defense is making players confident in their abilities, repeating the words consistency and persistence.

Smith acknowledged he had heard of the successes of top-level teams in Pitt County, including reigning 4-A state champion South Central and 2-A state champ Farmville Central, which is an Eastern Plains Conference rival of the Panthers. He said he has a plan for how to draw spectators to Bethel to watch the Panthers over other area teams.

“My first objective is to get the guys to buy in,” Smith said. “Fans will come, they will appreciate the success we will have on the court. They will come out to watch because it’s new. Everyone will give us a shot, they want to see what’s going on, but my goal, aside from that, is to make sure my guys are prepared for the opponent. When that happens, (fans) will have a show to see.”

Smith enjoys spending his free time watching the NBA, and while he does not take sets and skills used by the professionals to the high school ranks, he does see similarities.

“I see a lot of the strategies in terms of the high school level,” Smith said. “If you meet a team that has plenty of offensive threats, then you have to make someone else beat you. There are different ways you can do that. I’m a student of the game of basketball. Having said that, our goal is really to set the tone, and we are going to do that with our defense.”

With 14 years of experience under his belt, Smith has plenty of past memories and lessons he can use to help push North Pitt back into the conversation as one of Pitt County’s top teams.

“One of the things you have to acknowledge is you continue to learn how young people change, and that’s the biggest thing,” Smith said. “My philosophy is pretty simple and it doesn’t change. I build the relationships and then I educate, which means on and off the court, and then you have to empower them. It’s not enough to just teach them, you have to show them how to apply that knowledge to different situations. That way you’re not chasing other teams around. You worry about what you do.”

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

High Schools

August 24, 2019

The resolve of defending Eastern Carolina 3A/4A champion South Central showed Friday, as the Falcons mounted a furious two touchdown comeback to edge Greene Central for the second straight year, 29-28.

GC first-year head coach Jay Wilson’s varsity football coaching debut didn’t feature…

082419_gdr_scfootball-1.jpg

August 24, 2019

Wade Jarman made an impression in his first career varsity start Friday night, leading J.H. Rose to a shootout victory over visiting Fike, 38-35.

After leading the entirety of the first half, Rose (1-0) fell behind following an hour-and-45 minute delay due to severe weather. Coming out of the delay…

082419_gdr_rosefootball-19.jpg

August 23, 2019

Pope John Paul II is preparing for its first ever football season.

The Saints will play eight-man football, much like fellow private school Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston, and will be coached by the schools athletic director Shaun Murphy.

"Expect a lot of passing and high scoring games,"…

081019_gdr_jp2tour-11.jpg

August 23, 2019

There is a saying that goes, “What’s old is new again.” That statement has come true as “new” Farmville Central head coach Eddie Rhodes returns to the football field as a high school head coach for the first time since 1991. Rhodes, who enters his 39th season as a…

080819_gdr_farmvillecentral-1.jpg

August 23, 2019

As Greg Watford enters his second year leading the rebuild at North Pitt he returns a team that may not have many seniors, but holds plenty of leadership, especially on offense.

The Panthers will have a trio of returning players of various years ready to help quickly bring new players into the fold,…

080919-Alex Espinosa-Johnson

August 23, 2019

For three years J.H. Rose junior Wade Jarman watched as his brother, Grant Charles, led the J.H. Rose varsity football as the quarterback. This year it's Wade's turn.

It will be the third straight season the Jarman name graces the nameplate of the Rampants starting quarterback, and he is prepared…

080219_gdr_jhrfootball-7.jpg

August 23, 2019

For those around Greene Central it was no surprise to hear that Jay Wilson was named as the Rams next head coach. Former head coach Allen Wooten, who led the team to the postseason in each of his six seasons in charge, departed for perennial powerhouse Havelock, leaving the Rams with no leader mid-…

080619_gdr_greenecentral2.jpg

August 23, 2019

Ayden-Grifton head coach Paul Cornwell has built his 15-year legacy with the Chargers around an airtight defense and a physical, punishing ground game. In 2019, he hopes to shake things up, while keeping the game plan the same.

It’s no surprise that the historic football program emulates…

080219_gdr_agfootball-5.jpg

August 23, 2019

Last season D.H. Conley faced the daunting task of replacing a once in a generation talent in now-East Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers. While others wondered and speculated as to who would fill the lofty shoes left by Ahlers one man knew from the start who he wanted to step in. That man was…

080719_gdr_dhcfootball-3.jpg

August 23, 2019

North Pitt head football coach Greg Watford spent the majority of his first season in Bethel assessing what tools he had to work with, followed by beginning to enact a total overhaul of the team's culture.

In the process, he watched a seniors fall away, while younger players stepped up looking for…

080919_gdr_npfootball-3.jpg
115 stories in High Schools. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 12
        Next Page»   Last Page»