Jayla Smith is the fourth Labette Cardinals player to be named NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Team in the last four years.

The NJCAA WBCA released its list of all-stars this week. Traditionally, the honorees compete in a two-day All-Star showcase of games that draws the eyes of four-year recruiters. But that game has been canceled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was very happy for her. She definitely deserves the honor,” Labette Head Coach Mitch Rolls said. “I’m just glad she got it. Unfortunately they don’t get to play. But it’s great to be nominated as one of the top freshmen in the country. That gives us some good publicity going into her sophomore year.” 

Smith, a freshman last year from Detroit, averaged 9.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. She shot 41.6% from the field.

“She’s just an all-around player,” Rolls said. “She’s our best defender on the wing, rebounds really well and nearly averaged double figures in scoring. She can do it all. There’s not a lot you can say bad about her game. She even won most of the jump balls. She’s a special talent.” 

Smith reached double-figure scoring in 11 games last year, registering a season-high 17 points in a road win over nationally-ranked Johnson County. Five of her 11 double-figure games came against ranked or Division I opponents.

Smith was also named to the All-KJCCC Third Team.

Labette has had a rising sophomore named to the All-Star team four years in a row now — DeAshia Young (2017), Upe Atosu (2018), Jessica Martino (2019) and Smith. 

“It shows we’re signing good freshmen that are ready to play and implant themselves on the national scene,” Rolls said. “It started with DeAshia. We’ve got great freshmen and it speaks to the recruiting class as a whole.” 

While Smith won’t get the same opportunity to put her talents on display among her fellow all-stars in front of four-year recruiters this summer, Rolls said the guard already has offers she’s looking to build upon next season.

“She’s had a couple of offers,” Rolls said. “We need to wait and see if they stand. There were teams that wanted her for 2021. I think it’s a given she’ll get some good Division I offers. She needs to take the next step and get a Power Five offer. She can play multiple positions and doesn’t have a weakness on the floor. She’d be a great addition to any Division I program.” 

Smith will be one of just a handful of returning players on a Labette team that won the KJCCC, Region VI Tournament and qualified for the national tournament in 2019-20.

“It’s going to be the same role for her,” Rolls said. “The ball will be in her hands a little more. For her, it’s a redemption season. She wasn’t happy with just getting Third Team All-KJCCC and didn’t make the region team. Hopefully that makes her work a little harder this summer and fall.” 

 

2020 NJCAA WBCA ALL-STARS

Leilani Augmon, Seward

Kayla Byrne, Lake Region State

Eliana Cabral, New Mexico

Savanna Collins, North Arkansas

Shardajah Collins, Massasoit

Aleisha Curry, Santa Fe

Karmelah Dean, Southern Idaho

Alaina Forbes, Niagara

Ebony Gayden, Jones

Ayanna Gibbs, Illinois Central

Rashauna Grant, Cape Fear

Alexis Grice, Frank Phillips

Sharay Hannah, Hostos

De’Ja Henson, Wayne County

Tatiana Hodges-Johnson, Kirkwood

Jada Hood, Kilgore

Sammiyah Hoskin, Wayne County

Tianna Johnson, Seward

Kobe King-Hawea, Gillette

Sheslanie Laureano, Florida Southwestern State

Hannah Malcomson, Rock Valley

Alise Markova, Miami Date

Thaniya Marks, Shelton State

Sarah Matthews, Kilgore

Niya McGuire, Tyler

Allison Moore, John Wood

Canton Moreno, Frank Phillips

Naziah Morrow, Miami Dade

Tamara Nard, Butler

Jordyn Neal, Pensacola State

Polina Nikulochkina, Tallahassee

Ana Nikulochkina, Tallahassee

Ashley Orozco, Dawson

Kayla Payne, Cedar Valley

La’Janique Perry-Ellis, Bryant & Stratton

Tai’sheka Porchia, Angelina

Alexandria Shishkina, Georgia Highlands

Awa Sidibe, Salt Lake

Allison Siefering, Edison State

Femme Sikuzani, South Georgia Tech

Jayla Smith, Labette

Alaijah Stewart, Murray State

Jazmyn Turner, Wabash Valley

Lovietta Walker, Angelina

Diamonique Wallace, South Suburban

Lavender Ward, North Country

Alona Washington, LSU-Eunice

Kianni Westbrook, Daytona State

Deja Williams, Eastern Oklahoma State

Jiselle Woodson, Wallace State-Hanceville

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