Local college notebook: Smith still happy to go into ‘hall’

Tyresa Smith. Delaware sports information photo

By now, Tyresa Smith is getting used to going into halls of fame.

But that doesn’t mean each new induction is any less exciting for the Dover native and former University of Delaware basketball standout.

And Smith’s latest honor is arguably her biggest one yet.

Earlier this month, the Polytech High grad found out she was going into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame.

“I was definitely really excited about it,” said Smith. “I knew this one was the big one, so it’s really an honor.

“Sometimes it’s surprising. My Dad always jokes around and he’s like, ‘You’re washed up, why are you getting this?’”

Each time she’s honored, though, Smith realizes there’s a big group of people responsible for her accomplishments.

“It kind of makes you take a look back at everything you’ve done and it’s like you really made an impact on people,” she said. “People contributed to your game and it all paid off.

“It’s not just a ‘me’ thing, it’s like everybody contributed to that. It’s pretty cool.”

A year ago, the 34-year-old Smith was inducted into the Delaware Basketball Hall of Fame. Previously, she’d gone into the UD Athletics Hall of Fame.

Smith led Polytech to its only DIAA girls’ basketball state championship in 2003 before helping the Blue Hens reach the NCAA Division I Tournament. A two-time Defensive Player of the Year in the CAA, she also led the league in scoring as a senior.

Drafted in the WNBA, Smith played professionally overseas for several years.

One thing about making a hall of fame which Smith could probably live without is making a speech in front of a crowd. The Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame banquet is slated for Oct. 14 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington.

“That’s one thing I never get used to,” said Smith. “When it comes to talking about something that I’m passionate or something that really made an impact on you, it becomes easier.

“Looking back on why I got this honor, it makes it easier to talk about.”

Smith said things she learned through basketball are now things she tries to impart to her students. She’s in her fourth year as a health and physical education teacher at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

This year Smith also coached the school’s fourth and fifth-grade girls’ team for the first time. The squad finished among the top four in the city.

“I kind of stayed away from it for a long time,” Smith said about coaching. “This time I was like, ‘OK, it’s time.’ Getting to know the kids and seeing them grow, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’d love to coach them.’ And they just listen.

“It’s nostalgic a little bit to teach them stuff I learned,” she added.

It’s funny, says Smith. When she went into the Delaware Basketball Hall of Fame, one of her co-workers told her students about the honor.

“My students, they think it’s the coolest thing in the world,” Smith said with a laugh. “The last time I got inducted, I don’t know how they found out about it. The kids were like, ‘I can’t believe our teacher is in the hall of fame.’ They would ask me all the time.”

UD player top prospect

Delaware sophomore Joseph Carpenter is ranked as the top draft prospect in the Colonial Athletic Association according to D1 Baseball.

He’s also the 85th overall prospect in all of college baseball for the 2021 MLB Draft.

In the shortened 2020 season, Carpenter started every game at first base for the Blue Hens and hit .327 with a team-high 14 runs scored. He had eight RBI with five doubles.

Carpenter claimed the 2019 CAA Rookie of the Year award and was touted as a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball when he hit .300 in his first collegiate season.

The Hens’ last MLB draft pick was left-handed pitcher Brandon Walter, who was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 2019 MLB Draft and played for the Gulf Coast Red Sox last summer.

Notes

Hugo Harp, a three-time DIAA wrestling state champion at Dover and Smyrna High, is going to continue his career at Iowa Central Community College.

• Woodbridge High girls’ basketball standout Janeira Scott has committed to Division I Robert Morris.

• Local high school basketball writer Curtis Watkins has put out a list of the top in-state Division I college prospects. He lists Woodbridge High’s Kaheim Roach among the top rising juniors, Seaford’s Tyrese Fortune among the best sophomores and Laurel’s Dontarius Jones and Seaford’s Brent Ricketts among the best freshmen.