Photo by Eric Stauffer
Edwardsville's Mark Smith attacks the basket at Lucco-Jackson Gym vs. East St. Louis during the 2016-17 season. On Tuesday Smith was named Mr. Basketball of Illinois, awarded by the Chicago Tribune in conjunction with the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. Smith is the first EHS player to be a recipient of the award.
The awards just keep racking up for Edwardsville High senior Mark Smith.
After being named Gatorade Illinois Player of the Year on Monday, the 6-foot-4 point guard was named Mr. Basketball of Illinois on Tuesday. The award is given out by the Chicago Tribune in conjunction with the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA).
He joins names on the list like: Jahlil Okafor (Chicago Whitney Young - 2014), Jabari Parker (Chicago Simeon - 2012, 2013), Derrick Rose (Chicago Simeon - 2007), Kevin Garnett (Chicago Farragut - 1995) and Nick Anderson (Chicago Simeon - 1986). The award began in 1981 and Smith is the first Edwardsville recipient and only the second from the metro-east, joining East St. Louis’ Darius Miles who won in 2000.
Smith received 251 total votes and was named on 61 of 139 ballots. Evanston’s Nojel Eastern was second with 175 points. Althoff’s Jordan Goodwin (136) was third, while East Side’s Jeremiah Tilmon (105) was fourth. Belleville East’s Javon Pickett was eighth on the list and Okawville’s Noah Frederking received votes to close out a big splash for the metro area on the list.
Smith averaged a team-best 21.9 points per game for the 30-2 Tigers, along with 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds.
He’s a 4-star recruit on scout.com, still undecided where he’ll play in college. Originally verbally committed to Mizzou to play baseball, he decommitted in the fall and reopened his basketball recruitment. His school list includes Illinois, Missouri, Kansas State, Butler, Northwestern, Indiana, Ohio State, Texas and Boston College among others which have offered him.
On the girls’ side, Rock Island’s Breanna Beal was named Ms. Basketball of Illinois, but there was plenty of local flavor on the list, too.
Calhoun’s Grace Baalman was fourth on the list, while Civic Memorial’s Allie Troeckler was seventh, Edwardsville’s Mackenzie Silvey was eighth and Granite City’s Addaya Moore received votes.
Troeckler will play at SIUE next season, while Silvey is headed to SIU Carbondale and Moore is signed with Illinois. Baalman will play softball at Kentucky.
Beal, just a sophomore, joined Tamika Catchings (Lincolnshire Stevenson - 1995) and Candace Parker (Naperville Central - 2002, 2003, 2004) as the only sophomores to win the award in state history. Ms. Basketball of Illinois began in 1986.
Smith and Beal will be recognized at the IBCA Banquet at Redbird Arena on May 6.