NEWBERRY — Head Coach Dave Davis announced the signing of point guard Cai-el Smith to the incoming 2018-19 class.
For the past year Smith has played at Combine Academy in Lincolnton, N.C. under Combine Academy Director Matt Williamson, who was a former Newberry assistant coach. A New York City native, Smith played his first three years at national power Christ the King and then moved to Construction (engineering and architecture) High for his senior season.
During his time at Combine Academy Smith averaged 12.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. He also touted a 4.1 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. Combine Academy played a national schedule with Smith recording his best efforts against nationally-ranked opponents. He scored 20 points and had five assists against No. 12 Mt. Zion and racked up 13 points and seven assists versus No. 4 Hargrave Military. Smith also recorded a double-double versus Bristol Prep with 16 points and 14 assists and had 23 points and four assists against Believe Prep.
“Cai-el displayed leadership all season, shining in big moments against nationally ranked opponents,” said Combine coach Nate Pausa. “His college ready body and IQ will allow him to transition well into Newberry’s system, where he can be impactful from the start. We are proud of his development in all facets of the game. Cai-el is one of the hardest workers, who has earned his chance to play on the collegiate level.”
Prior to Combine Academy, Smith had some outstanding games in New York before going to Lincolnton, N.C.. He had a triple double versus Benjamin Carson tallying 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, while also posting a double-double in the state playoffs against Mott Haven with 27 points and 11 rebounds.
“Cai-el is another Newberry guy, who plays hard and works hard and was overlooked in recruiting and we will benefit greatly from all of this,” said Davis. “He is a smart, strong and plays both ends. He is an incoming freshman, but he work he and his coaches at Combine have put in over the last year, have benefited Cai-el tremendously.”
Newberry has had luck with New York City point guards with Bill Scarry leading his team to the National Tournament in 1961 and eventually being named to the Hall of Fame.
Smith joins AJ Sales (Caldwell Community College), TJ Brown (Dreher High School), and Kyle Tracy (Spartanburg Day) as newcomers with a chance to make an immediate impact.