High school basketball star works through tragedy as he leads his team to the top
Baton Rouge - Javonte Smart is now one of the most highly touted sophomore basketball players in the country, but the Scotlandville standout still carries the pain from his father's shooting death in 2006.
"Sometimes Javonte wakes up out of his sleep screaming and hollering, crying like he had a dream about his dad or something," his mother Melinda Smart.
"He'll run in my room and I don't even know what to do. I hold him and hug him and cry myself."
Javonte's father - Jerry Matthews - was shot dead in what police said at the time was an attempted robbery: the homicide remains unsolved to this day.
Meanwhile, Javonte has blossomed into the top point guard prospect in the country for the class of 2018.
He's already led the Hornets to a state championship during his freshman year, played for Team USA's U17 squad that traveled to Argentina last summer, and this year he's averaging 22 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block per game while leading the Hornets to a 27-2 record.
" His basketball IQ is really off the charts: he's a court-savvy kid," says head coach Carols Sample. "He can find you and also shoot the jumper real well."
Of course, Javonte misses his father, and says he thinks about him often.
"When I make a bucket I look up and say that's for you," says Javonte, speaking about his father.
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