Interview With Brewster Academy's Jason Smith

Located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, along the shoreline of Lake Winnipesaukee, Brewster Academy is one of the top Prep School basketball programs in the country. Brewster has captured three National Prep School Championships over the past five seasons, as well as four NEPSAC Class AAA Championships since 2008.

Brewster Academy has been a frequent visiting spot for Providence College coaches over the last several years, having recruited such talented players as Donovan Mitchell (Louisville commit), Jared Reuter (Virginia commit), Devonte Graham (Kansas), Jared Terrell (URI), Jakarr Sampson (St. John’s) and Naadir Tharpe (Kansas).

Leading the team for the past 14 seasons is head coach Jason Smith. Coach Smith kindly took some time to speak to about a variety of topics related to his time coaching at Brewster.

ScoutFriars: What role do you take in the recruitment of your players?
JS: I only get involved if the family requests assistance. Some families ask for more assistance or advice, while others do not.

ScoutFriars: How would you describe your relationship with Ed Cooley and the PC coaching staff?
JS: Coach Cooley and his entire staff are outstanding. I'm in as regular contact with the PC staff, as much as any in the nation.

ScoutFriars: PC has had a number of high profile targets at Brewster recently - JaKarr Sampson and Donovan Mitchell to name two - yet, it’s been a while since they've landed a Brewster player. What do you attribute that to - just a run of bad luck or are there other factors that have played into that?
JS: PC has recruited some of our kids in the past, but lost out to strong programs, such as Kansas, Louisville, Syracuse, etc. It's not anything against PC. I think they are definitely recruiting the top kids and will get their fair share of prospects.

ScoutFriars: What are your thoughts about the influence of AAU coaches and the AAU culture?
JS: As a former AAU coach, I understand the relationships that kids and their summer team coach have. There are some outstanding summer team coaches and people involved in grassroots basketball. However, like anything, there are some who make ill-advised decisions and don't take into consideration the best long-term success of a student-athlete.

ScoutFriars: What do you do at Brewster besides coaching?
JS: I’m the Associate Director of Admissions.

ScoutFriars: Tell us about your record and accomplishments at Brewster and how long you've been there.
JS: I'm entering my 15th year at Brewster Academy and love every minute of it. We've been fortunate enough to win 350-plus games, as well as 4 NEPSAC titles and 3 National Prep Championships. More importantly, we've helped prepare kids for success in life beyond Brewster - academically, socially, as well as athletically.

ScoutFriars: Where have you coached before Brewster?
JS: I coached at Notre Dame Prep in Mass. for one year prior to Brewster, as well as at Bishop Brady High School (NH), Merrimack Valley High School (NH), Pittsfield High School (NH), and Plymouth State University.

ScoutFriars: How do you go about building a roster at Brewster?
JS: I try to put together a group of young men who want to be a part of a strong, close-knit community. We look at kids who will be willing to sacrifice individual accolades for the success of the team.

ScoutFriars: Is it difficult dealing with college coaches?
JS: Yes, it can be very difficult. It can be time consuming returning calls, emails, texts, etc.

ScoutFriars: Is it difficult dealing with star players?
JS: We've been very fortunate. Our 'star' guys have been very easy and not high-maintenance or have an ego. A lot of that is determined during the admissions process. Who do we want in our community?

ScoutFriars: How tough is it dealing with parents?
JS: Like anything, it can be difficult, but it's mostly very rewarding. I hear from past players’ parents regularly after they graduate from Brewster. It's great to receive an email or phone call from a parent of a player you coached 10-plus years ago, or be invited to a wedding or family event.

ScoutFriars: Who would you say is the most talented player you've ever coached? Or a top 3 to 5 list of players?
JS: Will Barton, Thomas Robinson, T.J. Warren all come to mind in terms of being the most talented. Jeff Adrien may have been the hardest worker or most focused on achieving his goals. However, we've been extremely fortunate to have coached so many great players here at Brewster. The 2012 team may have been the most talented. There could be 5-6 potential NBA pros on that squad. The 2014 group may have been the best team. They defended and shared the ball. A very unselfish group who were easy to work with on a daily basis.

ScoutFriars: Do you want to coach at the college or pro level?
JS: I have no aspirations to coach at the collegiate or pro level. I realize I have an outstanding job at Brewster and I'm very comfortable being a part of our community.

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