Smith receives a full ride to IMG Academy

Azaria Smith was scheduled to be one of the Bahamas’ leading players in junior women’s basketball at this week’s FIBA ​​Americas Under-15 (U15) Girls Centrobasket Championship, but to travel with the team due to injury. I couldn’t.

On Monday, she received news of her life as one of six scholarships through IMG Academy’s first Womenin Sports Committee (WISC) scholarship program in Bradenton, Florida.

Smith has just completed 9th grade at St. Augustine College (SAC). She was surprised at her scholarship offer and she said she was pleased with the opportunity to further her basketball career.

“I am grateful for this opportunity because it is a very expensive school. It helps my journey. From all, they chose me. It helps me to be motivated. Lots. I’m excited to go to school where I can play games. It will actually give me the exposure I need to be a WNBA (Women’s Basketball Association) player, “Smith said.

Currently, only one Bahamian is playing at the WNBA, which is the league’s current most valuable player (MVP), Conker’JJ’ Jones. Smith said that was one of her goals.

While at IMG, she is coached by Shell Daily, the head coach of the girls team. Combo guard Smith said she would like to advance to the WNBA after she played the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I basketball. One of the players she respects at the WNBA is Phoenix Mercury’s guard, Skyler Digginssmith.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the IMG Academy founded women on the Sports Commission and awarded student athletes six full scholarships. The program started on Monday. The committee is made up of the famous women of Sports Cali Champion, Danny Garcia, Lindsay Davenport, Lindsay Davenport, Michele Tafoya and Robin Roberts. The scholarship program will begin in the fall semester of 2022.

Roberts, ABC’s Good Morning America anchor and former ESPN sports caster, chose Smith for his full scholarship. She will be Smith’s mentor.

“It’s motivating,” Smith said of Roberts’ choice of her. “She chose me from all the candidates. I can’t disappoint her. She has to work harder.”

Smith had to submit a video explaining why she felt she deserved a scholarship. After waiting two months, she received the news that the application was successful. Azaria is the daughter of Luther and Reigale Smith. She said she was ecstatic that the Commission chose her daughter for one of six spots, Rey Gale Smith’s mother.

“I am very grateful to God for giving her the opportunity,” Reigale said. She said, “She thanks IMG Roberts and WISC. My daughter is very devoted and worthy of this scholarship. It’s really to see her dreams come true with the grace of God. It’s a blessing. “

A 14-year-old was at IMG last summer for a three-week basketball camp. She completes grades 10-12 at IMG Academy. Azaria Smith played basketball for the first time at the age of nine in fifth grade, and a year later she takes sports seriously and prepares to immerse herself in sports while being educated.

The 5’3 “player was unable to play high school basketball due to the closure of a local program for the past two years due to the threat of COVID-19, but she was unable to play high school basketball, but she was a basketball club in Orlando, Florida, Lucayan. I was able to play in the tribe.

“I couldn’t play that much. I was so far away from basketball that I could feel my love for basketball,” she said. “When I went out and played in the front yard, it didn’t stop me completely, so I stayed motivated.”

While at IMG, Smith mainly wants to work on her ball handling. She also loves shooting and sharing rocks, she said.

Five other young women received golf, athletics, lacrosse, tennis and basketball scholarships. Smith is one of two international students receiving scholarships, the other from Venezuela. Smith receives a full ride to IMG Academy

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