All the attention Anderson High junior guard Max Smith has received hasn’t done much to distract him.
“Defenses are gearing up for him now and doing everything they can to take him out of our offense,” Trojans coach Daniel Pittsford told Texas Scorecard. “Early in the year, we beat some teams not many thought we would with Max doing a lot of damage and now he’s the game plan.”
Through it all, Smith has continued to be himself, averaging 31 points during the week of Jan. 7 to earn Player of the Week honors from the Texas Statesman.
“The truth is, you’re not going to outwork Max,” Pittsford added. “He’s been with the varsity since his freshman year and in that time has shown himself to be one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had in the program.”
Pittsford said he and the coaching staff are working hard at trying to get Smith to become more of a vocal leader for the young Trojans.
“Right now, he leads by example and is real quiet when it comes to everything else,” he said. “We’re trying to get him to understand if he communicates more we’ll be that much better as a team.”
After starting the year at 6-3 with a pair of upset wins, the Trojans have struggled through a 4-10 stretch that includes a 2-6 start in 6A Region IV District 25 play.
“We’ve been inconsistent as young teams are,” Pittsford said. “We’ve had guys fill in here and there, but with every team focusing on Max we need them to step up more often and become more of a consistent threat when they have the ball in their hands.”
Pittsford said 6-foot-6 senior center Jeremiah Byers has done his part, anchoring the Trojans’ defense and doing all the dirty work inside.
“We’re getting there,” he said. “Our goal is to have a strong second half in District and put ourselves right there for the postseason.
“It all starts with each and every one of our guys answering the challenge that’s in front of them.”