On Thursday night, Dylan Smith officially wrapped up his high school basketball career.
The recent Stillwater High graduate, along with teammate and classmate Hunter Staten, played in the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State game at the Mabee Center in Tulsa. It was their final game together.
Smith and Staten combined for 31 points, according to SHS boys’ basketball coach Michael Davis. Staten led the way with 16, while Smith scored 15 points on the Large East team. They made four and three, respectively, 3-pointers in the game.
“I thought those two guys represented Stillwater really well on the court and in the dorms,” Davis said. “They represented the community of Stillwater really well.
For Smith, it was a memorable experience. It was one final chance to play prep hoops before moving away for college in less than three weeks.
“It was really fun getting to play one more high school game,” Smith said. “Also getting to play with Hunter and all those guys one more time.”
Smith signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. It’s about three-and-a-half hours north of Stillwater.
“It’s not too far, but it’s just far enough,” Smith said.
The former Pioneer point guard was drawn to Bethany and ultimately chose the Swedes because of coach Dan O’Dowd. The Bethany alumnus has coached at nearly every collegiate level before returning to his alma mater in 2017.
O’Dowd’s coaching career and personal connections throughout the country were a draw for Smith, who wants to pursue a coaching career after college.
“The coach has some experience at the Division 1 level, so when I went up there, he was talking to me about what I want to do in life off the basketball court,” Smith said. “He said he could help me, because he has connections. So if I want to intern at some school, he could hook that up, because he has those connections.
“He was a really down-to-Earth person, and I like that. I like the school. The coach seems to be doing good things, so I thought I’d go up there and try to help him out.”
Davis was quite enamored to have two players on this past year’s squad sign to play at the next level. Staten is headed to Oklahoma Christian University. Davis was thrilled to see Smith play well in the All-State game before going off to college.
“I’m very excited for Dylan to go get a chance to play at the next level,” Davis said. “I just think he shouldn’t have to leave the state to do it, and I think some of those coaches realized that last night after watching him. They realized he’s pretty good.
“… I think he’ll be OK, because he knows how to work to get what he wants. He’s great in the classroom and his parents have done a great job with him. He knows what he wants and he’s focused. He has a quiet confidence about him, not cocky, just quiet.”
Smith averaged 12 points and six assists per game as a senior at Stillwater. Davis admits those numbers, especially the points, could have been significantly higher.
“He did exactly what we needed him to do for our team,” Davis said. “In hindsight, I’d tell him to go score more, but he did what he was supposed to do. He was more of a distributor and he averaged about 12 points a game, but he could have easily averaged 20 or more.”
As for Smith, he’s anxious to begin his college career and take the next step in life. He’s been in the gym working to improve his shot, while also becoming stronger in the weight room.
“I’m ready to go play college ball, because that’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Smith said. “When I went to Bethany, it felt like the right place. That’s why I want to go there.”