SOURCE: CHRON.com | By JOSEPH DUARTE, Houston Chronicle | Nov. 8, 2010
D’Frantz Smart went back to school this summer, but the most important lesson she learned may have come during the first few weeks of last season.
Smart admittedly wasn’t physically or mentally ready at the beginning of the 2009-10 season. She was still recovering from a foot injury that sidelined her most of the summer, and it showed during the Owls’ 1-6 start.
That’s when coach Greg Williams made the decision to bench his starting point guard for an early non-conference game against Sam Houston State.
“It kind of hit me, ‘Hey, I need to really get my stuff together,’ ” Smart said. “I didn’t think about how my frustration was affecting the team. I was kind of only thinking about myself at the time and wasn’t thinking about what the team really needs. After coach benched me, I kind of took a back seat and looked at what I was doing, how I was practicing, how my attitude was reflecting (on) the team.”
Smart responded with a combined 40 points, 11 assists and seven steals in consecutive wins over Northwestern State and Hofstra.
The Owls are expecting big things this season from their smallest player, who is generously listed at 5 feet.
Smart is working on the next phase of her game after attending Point Guard College, an intense four-day basketball camp, in Boston this summer. The message she learned was how to be a more vocal leader.
“Everything was about being vocal and that your team feeds off you,” said Smart, who averaged 9.4 points and 3.6 assists last season.
Smart said the biggest adjustment will be assuming a vocal leadership role in practice during the week, not just during games.
“In games you can turn it on, but your teammates might be like, ‘Hey, where did that come from? She’s only going to do it in games,’ ” Smart said. “I want them to know I’m going to do it every day in practice. I’m going to be on them — we need to make shots, we need to play defense.”
Entering her junior season, Smart was voted one of three team captains along with guard Jessica Goswitz and forward Megan Elliott.
“She has shown she is ready to be a leader,” Williams said. “She’s always been our floor leader, buts it’s hard for a freshman or sophomore to be a vocal leader. She’s more comfortable with that role.”
D’Frantz Smart attended Point Guard College’s basketball training program for college athletes in 2010.
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