As an undersized freshman, Braden Smith didn’t appear to have the potential to be a future Indiana Mr. Basketball.
But the Westfield High School senior made the transformation.
“It’s unbelievable that someone like me can win something like that, coming from being 5-foot-7 and 130 (pounds) my freshman year,” Smith said. “I’ve come a long way to where I am now.”
Smith was announced April 2 as the winner of the voting of media and coaches.
As Mr. Basketball, the 6-foot senior guard also became the first Indiana Boys All-Star from WHS. Smith finished with 128 Mr. Basketball votes, topping Homestead senior Fletcher Loyer, who had 109 votes. Smith and Loyer will play for Purdue University next season.
“I was nervous but I felt like I deserved to be up there,” Smith said. “I felt like I completed a lot of things that are needed to win an award like that.”
Smith said making the Indiana All-Stars has always been a goal.
“Not a lot of people can make the Indiana All-Star team, not only that but win Mr. Basketball, just being able to have that opportunity is unbelievable,” Smith said.
Smith had already left for Orlando when the announcement was set to be made by the Indianapolis Star. Westfield High School coach Shane Sumpter was going fly to Tampa for spring break but moved his flight a day earlier to Orlando to surprise Smith with the news April 1.
“It was deserved, obviously,” Sumpter said. “I haven’t stopped smiling for four or five days.”
Smith had surgery on his left foot after the season and is unlikely to play in the June 10-11 All-Star games against Kentucky. But whether he plays or not, Smith said he will be there for the All-Star games and activities.
Smith injured his foot Jan. 21, missed several games but returned to play in two games late in the season and in the sectional and regional. He averaged 24 points and eight assists while leading Westfield to its first sectional title in school history. He made 28 of 40 shots, including 13 of 21 from 3-point range, in the three victories in the Class 4A sectional.
Smith averaged 18.3 points, six assists and six rebounds per game for the Shamrocks (22-7), who lost in the regional final to Kokomo
Smith averaged 17.9 points for his four-year varsity career, finishing as the Shamrocks’ all-time leader with 1,629 points and 453 assists.