Hanoverton, OHIO (WYTV) – For the United Eagles senior Kaden Smith it’s not about personal records, it’s more about what the team is doing. Smith has been a four-year player for the Eagles and has reached the 1,000 point plateau earlier this year. But that won’t mean a lot if his Eagles don’t finish the season strong.
“Kaden is a great basketball player, but more importantly he is just a great individual,” Eagles head coach Chris Kadvan remarked. “He is hardworking and a fun kid to be around. But the greatest thing about Kaden is that he is a team player.”
“When I told him how close he was in getting to 1,000 points, he didn’t know. Because his mindset is not about his individual records. His mindset is about the team, team first. It shows in his leadership,” Kadvan added.
Smith reached the 1,000 point mark in a game against Southern Local back in December. Along the way, he has helped power the Eagles to a 13-5 record and second place in the EOAC heading into action this week.
“It was something I had in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t something I ever worried about. It was something I didn’t know that came up until the game I got it at,” Kaden humbly admitted. “Yeah, it’s a great accomplishment, but it’s a better accomplishment to get a league title or a district championship as a team. It was always a goal but it was never one that I put super high.”
“When I first got this job, it was his freshman year,” Kadvan recalled. “It’s been amazing to see him grow from a nervous freshman to being the young man that he is today. That’s a testament to his parents and to him and his work ethic and attitude.”
Kaden is the son of Shelly and Jason Smith and he has an older brother and two younger sisters. As Kadvan remarked, it is Shelly and Jason who have molded Kaden into the high-quality individual he is today.
“He leads by example, but when we need to communicate he is my line of communication,” Kadvan explained of Smith’s leadership style. “When I’m mixing up defenses, I’m relaying it to Kaden, and he is relaying it to the team. So he is a verbal leader in that aspect, but he also leads by example.”
Kaden plays both football and basketball for the Eagles and recorded 25 receptions for 272 yards with 3 TD’s for the Eagles football squad. He was also selected to the Quad County Coaches Association all-star team with an opportunity to participate in the Penn-Ohio all-star game in June. But in spite of his outstanding season as an Eagles receiver, it is basketball that he excels. He also hopes to play basketball at the college level in the next year but will play football if it is beneficial financially for his family.
“It would definitely be basketball,” Kaden admitted as his favorite sport. “I plan on playing basketball or football, whichever one I can get more money for (my education).”
As far as life after playing, he hopes to stay in the sports field, “I want to go into exercise science to get my PT or physical therapy degree. I like to take anatomy because that’s what I like. That’s what I’m going on into the future to do,” Kaden said of his future and current classes.
No matter how far United goes this year in the tournament, Eagles fans have a lot to be proud of with young men like Kaden representing their community. A district title would be more important to him than any personal accolades.