2010 WG 6'4" Demetris "Cleveland" Smith (shown below with the Texas D-1 Ambassadors) has committed to Lamar University in the Southland Conference.
Folks, in the world of collegiate athletics there are many stories that are "feel good" and sadly many more that reinforce negative stereotypes of athletes. Today, I am pleased to announce the commitment of Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Chip player Demetris "Cleveland" Smith who has recently decided to end his recruitment early and commit to play basketball at Lamar University of the Southland Conference.
Smith, a 2010 WG 6'4" is a big part of the Central Texas basketball juggernaut under Coach Mike Murphy at Pflugerville High School, bordering Austin, TX. He was being recruited by Texas State, Stephen F Austin and Sam Houston State as well as others out of State but ended his recruitment in part to join two of his 2009 Pflugerville & ex-D-1 Ambassadors team mates (PG Jonathan Garza & P Osas Ebomwonyi) with the Lamar Cardinals.
Here's where the story gets particularly interesting. Sure, he has a much better than average perimeter shot, rebounds like a demon and has an unyielding will to win. Mnay kids have that. However, his will is not just to win on the court, but to win at the Game of Life. Family is important to Smith, the energetic buzz saw who originally hails from the inner city of Cleveland, OH. That might seem like an obvious statement to most, however Cleveland tragically lost both of his parents within a short time of each other. After having no place to stay in Ohio, he ended up in Texas mid semester almost exactly 2 years ago because an aunt lived in Pflugerville and he came to live with her.
As if this wasn't enough for a young man to handle, the story took another strange twist when last fall, young Demetris came home to find his aunt's Pflugerville apartment completely empty of all furnishings. The exception was a note on the counter telling him she had too many obstacles of her own and had to go back to Ohio! Wow. For all of us that feel we have mountains to climb, is this not PRESSSURE??? Do any of you feel embarrassed about moaning and whining about small obstacles we face in our daily lives? I sure do!
This young man had every conceivable excuse to QUIT. How many people do we know who would stop attending school, turn away from basketball, act out in a negative way, & perhaps even turn to a combination of drugs, alcohol or crime to cope with their problems or to use their circumstances as a built in excuse for failure. Frankly, I don't know if I would have the inner strength to handle this at 15, 16 or 17 years old.
Instead, Cleveland turned to his new Family; the good people of Pflugerville and the Texas D-1 Ambassadors. A combination of the above, (Pflugerville Coach Mike Murphy, Ms. Ann Baker a teacher at Pflugerville whom Smith now lives with, D-1 Ambassadors Coach TJ Garza and many others) have been there for this beautiful young man as he sorts out lifes trials and tribulations. This network of love, support and discipline has led us to him being on the verge of becoming a Division One basketball player/scholarship athlete.
Cleveland, over the years we've had many players come through our Texas D-1 Ambassadors organization who have brought pride and accomplishments to their families and community but none that quite approaches your achievements given the obstacles you've had to overcome. You are truly an inspiration to others and even though you are likely unaware at the moment you are already a mentor to other young men in the community. You have our sincere congratulations.
Coach Max & Coach Chip
Note: We never publish information as sensitive as this, but the story is so compelling and can serve as an inspiration to so many others that Demetris graciously has given me permission to write about his journey off the basketball court....Sincere Thanks...Coach Max