Smart signs letter of intent to Columbia College

Jan. 25, 2013 @ 06:15 AM

Chase senior center, Kaitlyn Smart signed her national letter of intent Thursday to play basketball for the Columbia College Fighting Koalas. Smart became the first Lady Trojan to sign with a college program since 1988.

“I’ve been working hard to get to this day for four years and now it’s finally here,” Smart said. “I’ve always wanted to be a collegiate  athlete and now I will get that chance. I’m a bit overwhelmed but I’m looking forward to the whole college experience.”

Even so, Smart admits she will miss playing for the Trojans.

“The people are the best part about playing here,” she said. “I’m going to miss all the support, but I’m just so excited to have the chance to play basketball in college.”

As excited as Smart is to be taking the court at the next level, Columbia head coach Maria Audis is equally thrilled to have her.

“There are things I look for in a recruit, academics, a good attitude and athletic ability, in that order ,” said Audis. “Kaitlyn has all three and any time we can get a player like that, I get excited. I expect Kaitlyn to make an immediate impact on our program. Let’s just say that playing time won’t be an issue.”

Based on her performance this season, Smart certainly has the capability to be an impact player for the NAIA Koalas of the Appalachian Athletic Conference. She has helped Chase triple their win total from last season by averaging a double-double with 15.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.

“I’ve only had the privilege of coaching Kaitlyn for two seasons, but it’s been a joy,” said Lady Trojan coach Todd Davis. ‘She is such a versatile player and has a great attitude. She will be a wonderful asset to any team.”

It is that versatility that first caught the eye of Audis.

“Players in our conference are either big but slow or small and fast” said Audis. “Kaitlyn has the size to play in the post and the speed to play on the perimeter.  She will create matchup problems all over the floor. We are a young team that keeps improving and Kaitlyn will be a big part of our future.”