During his coaching career, Blackburn College Coach Kirk Chandler has seen a few players that can hit from anywhere on the floor.
Vandalia grad Ryan Smith happens to be one of them. With good size, both in height (6-foot-5) and weight (215 pounds), Smith could more than hold his own on the inside. He also had the tools to hit from beyond the arc.
"Just about anywhere on the floor, Ryan has probably hit a shot from there," said Chandler, Blackburn College's coach. "He was an effective shooter from outside and that fact made him tough for the other team to guard. If they put a guard on him, he was bigger. If they put a big man on him, he was usually quicker."
In his final season, by far his best season, he finished with 162 points and 100 rebounds, respective averages of 7.0 and 4.3 per game. Smith, who started at the post position for Blackburn, also had 17 assists, 15 steals and 12 blocked shots. He nailed 73-of-148 field goals and 12-of-22 free throws. Of his field goals, four were treys.
"Being able to get out there and compete at a higher level is something special," said Smith. "Not every athlete gets that opportunity. If I had to pick a game or a season as the high point, I would say advancing to the NCAA Division III playoffs as a freshman. I enjoyed playing. I wish we could have won more games during my career."
For his career, Smith finished with 384 points and 230 rebounds. He was part of the 2004-05 Blackburn team, which won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament to earn a bid to the playoffs. The following year, Smith and his teammates won the regular season title and earned the right to host the conference tournament.
The son of Randy Smith and Tammy Smith, both of Vandalia, will earn his degree in criminal justice in October. He is also earning a minor in psychology. The senior currently has an internship lined up with the Madison County Corner's Office. ...
Vandalia grad Josie Earnest, a Vanderbilt University sophomore, helped Vanderbilt take third in the NCAA Division I bowling nationals, which were held in Omaha, Neb. Earnest and the rest of the Vanderbilt team bowed out of the tournament with a semi-final loss to University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. The Commodores had Maryland-Eastern Shore down 3-0, before losing the fourth game of a seven-game series. With momentum on their side, Maryland-Eastern Shore won the final three games to earn a spot on the championship tilt.
Greenville College's Bryan Hobbie had a very good two weeks. The former Vandalia baseball player had four multiple hit games in the last 14 days. Greenville is 11-14 overall and 6-8 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
In the four games, Greenville split, winning a pair and losing a pair. They defeated Lincoln Christian College (20-1) and Westminster College (11-8), but lost to Webster University 10-7) and MacMurry College (25-19). Hobbie had his best game in Greenville's win over Lincoln Christian. He was 3-for-5 with a double. He scored three times and drove home two. He also had three hits in the loss to Webster. He scored one run, drove home one and stole a base. In the win over Westminster, the former Vandal crushed his fourth double of the year. He scored three times and drove home two. In the slugfest loss to MacMurray, he was 2-for-5 with a double. He drove home three, scored two and stole a base.
Former Brownstown player Aaron Lovett earned his second win of the year as well as suffering his first loss of the year in the last two weeks. The University of Kentucky pitcher, who worked three innings against University of Cincinnati, allowed only one earned run on three hits to improve to 2-1. He walked two and fanned one.
Although he pitched well against nationally ranked University of Georgia, Lovett suffered the loss. In 2 2/3 innings of mound time, Lovett allowed one earned run on two hits. He fanned a pair and walked two. Kentucky, who is currently ranked 17th in the NCAA Division I, is 30-9 overall and 9-9 in the Southeastern Conference.
Do you know of a spring athlete that should be included in this column? If he/she graduated from one of the high schools or is a resident of Fayette County, they are eligible to be included. I can be reached by e-mail (Dan62293@cs.com). When e-mailing, please put "Vandalia Leader Union" in the subject line of the e-mail. I will need the name of the athlete, the former high school, the college/university they are attending as well as the sport they are playing.