Lakendra Smith became the inaugural basketball player from TCC to be named Division II Player of the Week by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). The 5-foot-10 forward received the honor after averaging 23 points, 19.5 rebounds and three blocks in a pair of victories over Mid-Atlantic Christian University and Patrick Henry Community College on Jan. 25 and 26, respectively.
“I cried when I found out,” said Smith, a native of Monroe, La., who is pursuing her associate’s in early childhood education. “I felt like I was a teenager all over again.”
TCC became a member of the NJCAA, the national governing body for two-year athletics, in fall 2013.
Smith, 31, is the oldest player on the team and a mentor for her teammates, said Coach Lamonica Filer.
“She’s helping put us on the map with her maturity,” Filer said. “She’s got leadership qualities because of her ability to work so hard at the game.”
Smith, the MVP of last year’s Lady Storm, will graduate from TCC in December. She plans to own her own daycare center or be a preschool teacher.
“It feels good every time I hit the floor just knowing I’m able to play at my age,” she said. “I love playing with this team. The younger girls I play with keep my youth going.
“When I got that award, they thanked me, but I thanked them. We’re a family. I’m glad I showed them just because you play for a community college doesn’t mean you can’t be recognized.”