The Journal’s pick for “Breakout Female Star” is freshman pitcher/outfielder Rachel Franck of the softball…
Breakout Male Star of 2012-2013: Ahmad Smith
When former Webster University men’s basketball player Stefan Whittingham transferred to Division-II Lincoln University (Pa.) prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, Ahmad Smith knew he’d have to step up his game.
Whittingham — the 2011-12 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year and last year’s winner of The Journal’s Breakout Male Star category — led the Gorloks in scoring and rebounding during the 2011-12 season. That season, Smith, then a freshman, averaged 19.3 minutes and 7.2 points in a sixth-man role.
Before the start of his sophomore campaign, Smith met with Webster coach Chris Bunch. Bunch explained to Smith that with Whittingham gone and former Webster player Willie Trimble not returning, the Gorloks would be depending on Smith for increased leadership and production.
“(Bunch) was just telling me that we’re looking for a big jump in you from your freshman year to this year,” Smith said. “We’re counting on you. Stefan is gone now, Willie is gone now, so this is going to be your team, and we want you to do big things for us.”
Smith delivered. During the 2012-13 season, Smith scored 14.6 points per game, which tied him with senior Roman Robinson for the team lead. Smith averaged 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and a team-best 1.6 steals. He also played the most minutes (30.2 per game) for the Gorloks, who went 14-12 overall and 11-5 in SLIAC play.
For his efforts, Smith, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard, was named to the All-Conference second team. Smith said he hopes to build on his sophomore season to do even better for the Gorloks these next two seasons.
“I plan on working hard, trying to get stronger (and) working on my mid-range game more,” Smith said. “I’m planning on big things next year. I’m shooting for Player of the Year in conference — that’s my goal.”
Runner-up: Brian Woodward, men’s soccer
Click HERE to view The Journal’s pick for ‘Breakout Female Star’