Tristan Smith Is a Southridge Underdog
2020 Kennewick (Wash.) Southridge forward Tristan Smith is an unsung hero for a team that’s a little bit down on their luck.
His current team, the Southridge Suns, are tucked away at the bottom of the Mid-Columbia Conference with a 2-13 record.
Yet Smith shows up to practice every single day; With high spirits and a smile on his face.
“It’s not about calling each other out,” Smith said. “It’s about staying positive, and letting your teammates know when they’ve done something good.”
The 6-6 playmaker is currently one of the top prospects in the Tri-Cities.
Right now he’s fourth in the conference in scoring with 18.6 points per game. In the offseason Smith plays for the highly prestigious Eastern Washington Elite.
While most of the area’s top talent is concentrated in places like Richland, Chiawana, and Walla Walla, White finds himself all alone at Southridge.
Southridge is a school that’s traditionally been known for it’s baseball prowess. They are currently the defending state champs, and the program has garnered national recognition.
While Southridge Baseball is nationally ranked, Smith believes this may have a negative impact on the basketball program.
“You always get kids transferring here for baseball,” Smith said. “But if a kid is transferring for basketball, it’s going to be to a school like Kamiakin.”
Despite the Suns brutal 10-47 record over the past three years, Smith is fiercely loyal to his school. He says he has absolutely no interest in transferring going forward.
Making the move from Selah to the Tri-Cities prior to his freshman year, the option was there to play for a Kamiakin or Chiawana.
The biggest factor in the decision to attend Southridge was because his older sister, Ellie Smith, was already playing basketball there.
Once you live in a school district, it becomes incredibly complex to transfer out. Not that Smith has put any real effort into doing that.
Perhaps the biggest silver lining to his situation? Every single night Smith must bring his A+ game.
“I get double-teamed all the time,” Smith said. “It toughens you up and forces you to play smart.”
When it comes to in-game situations, Smith describes himself as totally positionless. It’s all about what plays he can make to keep his team in the game.
Whether it’s posting up, shooting a three-pointer, or cutting to the basket, Smith shoulders the brunt of responsibility in the game plan.
Many athletes in the Tri-Cities play muiltiple sports, but this is not Smith's situation at all. He plays basketball year round and it's his number one enjoyment in life.
The future is bright for this underground star.
Playing college basketball has been a dream of his for as long as he can remember. Right now he’s open to any potential scenario.
“If I had to go to a two year JuCo, then transfer to a bigger school, I’d be totally fine with that,” Smith said.
There may be bigger opportunities than that going forward. Only mid-way through his junior year, the recruiting trail is still long for this young prospect.
While he might not be a guy you read about on the front page of the Tri-Cities Herald, Smith's body of work should be appreciated like any big school star.
If Southridge makes it out to your school, Smith and the Suns are definitely a team worth checking out.