By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
Fall, winter or spring. Jason Smith truly is a man for all seasons.
One of the best all-around athletes is the area, Smith has been named the Clinton Herald’s Player of the Year in boys basketball. He heads a first team on which he is joined by two Iowa all-state players — Brady Oldag of Preston, and Ryan Powers of Calamus-Wheatland — Ryan Krogmann of Northeast, and David Johnson of Clinton.
Powers, a 6-foot-2 junior, was named the Most Valuable Player in the Big East Conference and earned first-team all-state honors in Class 1A. Oldag, a 6-foot-6 senior who earned third-team all-state honors, led a Preston team that was ranked No. 1 in the state at one time during the season. Krogman, another senior, led Northeast to the Big East title, while Johnson was the top scorer and defender as a junior for the River Kings.
As good as all those players are, though, Smith, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, was a step above them in the eyes of the voters who selected the 15 players on the Herald’s first , second and third team, along with the honorable mention choices.
“The remarkable thing is (Smith) has a chance to be a five-time player of the year in the conference — basketball last year, baseball last spring, football in the fall, basketball this year (and the baseball season that has just begun),” said Dale Trott, who coached the senior standout in basketball at Morrison High School.
Smith’s accomplishments on the basketball floor are impressive. He averaged 18 points and 4.4 rebounds a game this season, leading the Mustangs to a 25-8 record (a school record for wins), a tie with Bureau Valley for the Three Rivers Conference championship and a regional title.
“He’s done a great job,” Trott said. “He’s scored 1,000 points — one of 13 players in Morrison history to do that — but he has done a good job to make sure he kept the spotlight off himself. He could score and play defense.”
He didn’t have to score to contribute to the team’s success, though. He had a pair of 30-point games during the season — one in a win, the other in a loss — but he also scored just two points and took only one shot as he helped the Mustangs beat favored Rock Falls for the regional championship.
Trott said his 6-foot-3 guard had numerous strong points in his game.
“He gets to the rim so well,” Trott said. “We talk to college coaches, and the first thing they mention is how he can get to the rim and finish. He does that a few times and the defense has to play off him, and then he can shoot his jump shot. He’s very fearless and would like to take the last shot.”
While Smith has taken his last shot for Morrison, there likely are more shots in his future. That is if he pursues basketball rather than baseball.
“He’s interested in playing at the college level,” Trott said. “He’s always been torn between the baseball-basketball thing.”
Trott said Smith would make a good shooting guard at the next level. He added that the college basketball coach who gets Smith will be happy.
“His best basketball is ahead of him,” Trott said.
Pick up a copy of Saturday's Herald to see a complete rundown of the all-area teams.
By Jon Gremmels