Jerret Smith is a terrific point guard. At 6’3, 195 pounds he can score, defend, and make pinpoint passes. However, his best attribute is he has the ability to make his teammates better. Even so, he has heard the whispers from the doubters. Psst. Psst. “Jerret you’re not good enough." "Why did Michigan give him a scholarship?" "Is he really that good?" "He doesn’t play hard enough." "Has he lost confidence in his game?” Those are but a few examples of the catcalls from the crowd aimed at him.
Let’s rewind back to March 10, 2004 in the district game against Belleville. In the 4th quarter, Jerret put on quite a show helping Romulus tie the game. But that part of his performance is not remembered. What people remember are the two free throws he missed with 8 seconds left. He heard the screams that he choked. Jerret was devastated and hurt. As he came out of the locker room, he saw the people that would help him get through it…his dad, mom and his brother, Darnell. Jerret has gotten over that now and he says it has made him stronger. We talked with the Romulus floor general recently and he had a lot to say about the doubters, his present and future coaches, and how he got his confidence back.
What did you like about your summer at the Reebok ABCD camp and the NBA camp?
“Just being health and having my confidence back. Having my game back to where it should be. I enjoyed the individual work outs and shooting drills at the NBA camp. Also at the Reebok ABCD camp, I liked being surrounded by all the other good players at the camp”.
You had a chance at the Reebok ABCD camp to be coached by former North Carolina coach, Matt Doherty. What was that like?
“That was a good experience. He taught me a lot about the point guard position, in terms of running the offense and getting others involved”.
Give me five players this summer you were impressed with?
“Kendric Price. He is a really good shooter. Brandon Rush has a real nice game. O. J. Mayo is very competitive and has a good game. Bill Walker is a high flyer. Greg Oden is a monster he can dominate a game. Eric Devendorf goes all-out. He is the truth”
You left your AAU squad, 'The Family.' What happened there?
“Well Coach Walker has helped me a lot, but I needed a change, so I played with Team Detroit and Coach Rodney Heard this summer.”
Did that help you get your confidence back?
“I really felt my confidence was back in the 4th quarter of the Belleville game. Having success with Team Detroit helped a lot as well. My brother Darnell helped me out a lot with me getting it back because he gives it to me straight. He tells me the things I need to work on and then we go work out together.”
I have to ask you about last season’s game against Belleville where you missed two crucial free throws. Have you gotten over that?
“Yes. Whatever will not kill you will only make you stronger. My family helped me get through that with encouragement and I have just gotten back into the gym and worked harder. Missing those two free throws was a good lesson because even though I played well, it showed me I still have a lot to work on. If it happens again, I want to be the one shooting free throws.”
Do you think because of your early success with people talking about you since 7th grade, that now the doubters are starting to nit pick at your game?
“They were nit picking when I was in 7th grade. Right now it’s just on a higher level. Some do it to bring me down. Half of the people go by hearsay. Now all of a sudden, I miss two free throws and now I’m a choker. I’ll use it as motivation. It’s a new year, my coming out party, and it’s not going to end. And for all of you doubting Ron Coleman (who is now playing for Michigan) when this season rolls around, he will show everyone how good he can be”
Your coach at Romulus, Nat Oats, talks with you quite often. What have you been talking about for the upcoming season?
That it is my show and how point guards make the best decisions, so go with my 1st thought. Coach Oats respects my decision making and he allows me to be his coach on the floor and lead. But, when I mess up, he is there to let me know about it and also helps me through it”.
What do you like about your soon to be Coach, Tommy Amaker?
“Well, Coach Amaker always keeps faith in his players. His confidence in you is there even if you are not playing well. He sticks with you. I like the fact that he is a former point guard so he really understands what is going on out there. He also would like for me to become more vocal. Also, I like the family atmosphere there with the other players. We all get along. That is why I’m going to the University of Michigan.”
Coach Ramsey recruited you. Can you tell us a little about him?
“Coach Ramsey is real cool. He always tells you what you need to work on. He is very straight forward and he never sugarcoats anything. You always know where you stand with him”.
So, in just one month you will be signing your letter of intent to play at Michigan. How does that make you feel?
“I am very excited to be signing and to be a part of the Michigan program. It’s another step I am taking and I am looking forward to it. Besides, it is going to help reach one of my goals of playing in the NBA. I can’t wait to be playing with Daniel Horton, Ron Coleman and the fellas but first I have some unfinished business at Romulus High School to take care of.”
GBW will be following Smith throughout the season.