ESPNBoston.com and its high school sports staff are pleased to announce today that Guilien Smith, senior guard of the Catholic Memorial School Knights, is the recipient of its fifth annual "Mr. Basketball" award, given annually to the top male high school player in Massachusetts.
The Mr. Basketball Award winner was chosen by a panel of experts made up of ESPNBoston.com staff, correspondents and analysts. Smith will be presented the award at a later date. He joins Central Catholic's Tyler Nelson (2014), Brighton’s Malik James (2013), King Philip’s Jake Layman (2012) and St. John’s Prep’s Pat Connaughton (2011) among past recipients in the award’s five-year history.
"We are pleased to present Mr. Smith with our fifth annual Mr. Basketball award," said ESPN Boston High Schools editor Brendan C. Hall, who coordinates the site’s basketball coverage. "There were so many great moments for Guilien this winter, that it's hard to pick your favorite. So many times in their state title run did the Knights find themselves playing from behind, or in a tight crunch, and so many times did Smith then shift the game into overdrive. He is a fierce competitor, and one of the more fascinating players I've had the pleasure of covering in my time at ESPN."
The 6-foot-1 Smith, a Brighton resident, navigated the Knights through a loaded field of contenders in the MIAA Division 1 State Tournament, finishing 24-2 and knocking off two-time defending champion Putnam to give CM its first state title since 2008.
With their unorthodox five-guard, run-and-gun style of play, the Knights captivated Massachusetts this winter, and Smith -- a three-year starter, two-time Catholic Conference MVP, and two-time ESPN Boston All-State selection -- was at the forefront, leading the Knights in scoring (19.1 points per game) and rebounding (8.6), and also adding 3.4 assists. The Knights led the state in scoring average this year, with 85.1 points per game.
For the playoffs, Smith averaged 23.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and three assists. That includes his 26-point, seven-rebound effort in the D1 State Final.
"It has been a privilege coaching such a talented, yet completely unselfish young man. When your best player has that type of attitude, you know you're in for a successful season," said Catholic Memorial head coach Denis Tobin. "There are very few high school players who can score in all three ways: getting to the rim, shooting mid-range pull-ups and making three-point shots. Guilien can do all three. He will go down as one of the best players to put on a CM uniform, and deservedly so."
Smith has maintained an A average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a peer and youth tutor, as well as a school ambassador. He has also donated his time as part of multiple fundraising campaigns, including ones to benefit breast cancer research and brain cancer research.
Smith will continue his career next season at Dartmouth College.
"Guilien has been a true leader for our basketball program these past two seasons both on and off the court," Tobin said. "A top student in the classroom, he always put 'team' in front of personal goals, especially this year in our five guard attack where he was asked defensively to often guard the opposing team's center, who was usually much bigger than him. He always did so willingly, and in fact I think he enjoyed the challenge."