LSU signee Ja’Vonte Smart of Scotlandville grabbed yet another honor Thursday, just hours before his team advanced to the LHSAA's Division I title game.
Smart had won the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year award for boys basketball for the third straight year.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound senior point guard led the Hornets to the Division I semifinals with averages of 32.9 points, 10.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.4 blocked shots.
Smart, one of six finalists for the MaxPreps National Player of the Year, has won Louisiana’s Mr. Basketball twice and is a three-time all-state selection.
Smart later scored a game-high 32 points to lead Scotlandville past rival McKinley 58-42 in a Division I semifinal at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. The Hornets face St. Paul's in the title game at 6 p.m. Saturday.
It was also announced Thursday that Smart will play in the Jordan Brand Classic all-star game set for April 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
"This is as much for my mom and my bothers and sister," Smart said. "They tell me this is something that hasn't been done. I thank God for it. And I thank my teammates and coaches."
Smart has 3,285 career points through the semifinal round. Smart also volunteers locally as part of an elementary school literacy-outreach program and as a youth basketball coach and counselor.
"Ja'Vonte has consistently gotten better each year, and I believe this is an award he has earned every time," Scotlandvillle coach Carlos Sample said. "People see the games, but they don't see the hard work he puts in every day in the gym and in the weightroom. He has worked on his game to become a great player but he is an even better person."
Smart has maintained a weighted 3.33 grade-point average and is in Scotlandville's engineering magnet program. The Gatorade award recognizes athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character.
Smart is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced later this month.
As the Louisiana Gatorade winner, Smart will present a $1,000 Gatorade grant to a national or local youth sports organization of his choice.