Playing JUCO For Omajae Smith Was Tough But It Taught Him to Work Hard And Focus On His Goals

Omajae Smith (196-G) is a forward that was born in San Diego, California and grew up in El Cajon, California. He began his basketball career at Foothills Christian high school. He then played a season with Humboldt State University (NCAA2) averaging 4.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.5apg. He then played 2 seasons with Fullerton College (JUCO) averaging 7.4ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 42.1%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 78.8% and in his second season averaged 11.9ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 71.9%. He then played his senior year at California State University Stanislaus (NCAA2) averaging 4.5ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 20.7%, 3PT: 15.0%, FT: 75.0%. He is taking part at the 2022 Howard Hoops Germany pro Tour.

Thanks Omajae for talking togermanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?

Currently I’m in San Diego. Basketball is treating me better than what it was a few months ago.

You just finished school at California State University Stanislaus (NCAA2). You only played 6 games in the last 2 seasons. Do you feel like Covid had an effect on your development?

No, but at the same time yes. The reason I say that is because my recruiting suffered a lot because of covid, I wasn’t able to take visits or really talk to a lot of coaches because of everything that was going on due to quarantine.

Do you feel like Covid also had an effect on your success on the transfer market. How did the search go for you? Do you have an agent or did you have to do everything alone?

Yes, transferring from junior college was hard because covid ended our season during playoffs and that is usually when a lot of coaches recruits. I don’t have an agent, I have been mostly doing everything alone for the most part.

You now are with the Howard Hoops tour. How did connect with Ron Howard?

I connected with Ron Howard through one of my cousin’s husband that used to play overseas and he told me to reach out to him if I still had aspirations to go overseas.

Ron Howard has a super track record for getting guys jobs. How blessed do you feel having got to know Ron Howard?

I am grateful to have this opportunity because I know opportunities like this don’t usually come around for most guys especially when you are doing this alone.

Have you met Ron Howard? What kind of an impression have you gotten through the talks with him?

I have only talked to Ron through zoom and whatsapp but I have not yet met him in person. The impression of Ron is that he seems like a very stand up guy and seems like he genuinely wants to help players get to the next level.

How confident are you that you will be able to find a job after your tour with Howard Hoops?

I am pretty confident in myself that I will get a job somewhere after the tour.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 196cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?

I am more so a shooting guard/backup point guard than a forward, but I can play forward as well. If I had to compare myself to someone in the NBA I would have to say Jimmy Butler, the reason I say that is because he is a pass first guard but score when needed, and a defensive dog.

You can score and rebound the ball well. What other strengths does your game have?


Defense is one my main strengths along with making plays for others. Also, I have a high basketball IQ.

On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so that you will be best prepared for your next challenge?

It’s always important to work on ball handling and shooting

You began your career at Humboldt State University (NCAA2) where you only played 6 games as a freshman. What positives do you feel did you gain in this season despite hardly seeing action?

I started and majority the games as a freshman then I got hurt. But the positives I got out of it was I knew I was capable to play at any level.

You then took a few steps back to play JUCO at Fullerton College (JUCO). Was doing this one of the best decisions that you ever made?

Definitely, it helped me build on every facet of my game. If I had to redo my journey I most likely would have chose to go to junior college first, the only stress of Juco was getting out, but I like that type of stress because it taught me to work hard and focus on my goal.

You really raised your game there and showed in your second season how versatile you are. How did your game grow there?

During my second season I had a different role than my first year. During my first year my role I gave myself was to pass first and defend the other teams best player. My second year, my role was more to score and make plays for others.

How important was head coach Perry Webster in your development there? How did your game mature under him?

Coach Perry was a huge part of my development as well as my assistant coaches, Andrew Bock and McKay Lasalle. They helped me in every facet of the game, from building my IQ to finishing better around the rim, and even shooting.

You then finished at California State University Stanislaus (NCAA2). How tough was coming off a high from JUCO where you were rewarded to play NCAA 2, but then Covid disrupted everything? What positives do you feel could you still attain?

It was tough transition and decision. The reason I chose to play at Stan State was to be closer to my family, then my other choice in Washington. I didn’t attain any positives from playing at Stan State that I could think of.

Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Travion Williams?


Me.

Who was the toughest player that you ever battled on a court anywhere that made the NBA?

Lonzo Ball

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?


TJ Leaf
Christian Grey
Tawon Elston
Morgan Means
Lucas Siewert

Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?

Lebron James
Michael Jordan
Kobe Bryant
Magic Johnson

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?

Lebron is better than Michael Jordan in every facet of basketball.

Where do you rank Steph Curry right now of the best point guards of all-time?

I would rank Steph Curry 3rd after Magic being 1st and Isaiah being 2nd.

Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?


Never saw it, But yes classics should be left as Classics.

Thanks Omajae for the chat.

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