Hometown Genes: Mike Smith Returns Home For DNA Basketball Clinic
It's been a long road for former Van Far standout Mike Smith on the hardwood. Dating back to his 2004 state title and now to his career as a professional player overseas. Through all his success, it's times like today where he enjoys giving back where he grew up at his DNA basketball clinic.
Mike Smith: "It's always a special time of the summer when I can get around the kids and teach them things that I never had the opportunity to learn when I was a kid. Just trying to get back to the surrounding areas, hopefully the kids are enjoying it and having fun. The community in the surrounding area gave me so much support since high school. It's just an amazing feel for me and my team, my state championship team, just to have that support with people backing us. It's just a great feeling and I wouldn't change it for the world."
For Mark Thomas, it's been a journey as well. Like Smith though, they've been able to learn from one another. Even ten years later, the state championship team still holds a heavy presence in them and around the area.
Mark Thomas: "With all coaches, you take the good and the bad from everyone you've been around, whether you've had them as a coach or you start to do it from your players. And so, you take and see what helped Mike get to where he was, what were the things he was doing that we didn't teach that he was doing on his own. Then you take from Coach Meny, how was he helping Mike prior to when I got there. You put all that together and then that's how you model yourself and make yourself a better coach. Then that's how you can help make better players."
"I actually just signed a two-year contract in Belgium again for a different team, a EuroCup team. So I'll be traveling Europe playing other top teams. My goal is eventually to get back state-side. I know it's going to take a lot of hard work and that's kind of what I'm here to tell the kids. Coming from a small town, if you put your heart and a lot of effort and hard work in you can achieve these goals."