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Aquan Smart: Hard work pays off

Ramsha Siddiqui

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Niles North Boys Varsity Basketball team has many rising stars, such as sophomore, Aquan Smart. Smart started his freshman year in 2016-17 as a varsity basketball player.
“At first, Adjusting to the team was a bit difficult, transitioning from middle school to high school was a challenge,” Smart said. With Smart being the youngest on the team and the least experienced varsity player, he had to adjust to many different obstacles through every single practice.
Getting a lot of playing time to very little, he struggled with not playing at all some games but he realized if he wanted to get more playing time he would have to work harder than his teammates. He changed his mentality and told himself he had to grow up and put in more work so he can get more skilled for his team. He eventually started to get more playing time and started to adjust to the team very well.
Smart said he wouldn’t be where he is right now without his teammates, coach and his mother’s help and support. His teammates attitude and motivation has helped him develop skills he didn’t even know he had, and it has gotten him very far.
After all the work he put in he became a part of the varsity team’s starting lineup. The team’s 2016-17 season they had numerous amount of losses against teams they should’ve beat. “Some days are better than others, some games we just weren’t mentally prepared, and that meant not all of us were on the same page because of all the losses, we eventually noticed we had to change our mindsets and think positive if we wanted to win”.
The team has changed a lot since last year, a lot of players have matured more, also learned from the things they did wrong last year. “Growing off of our season last year, has helped me become a more vocal leader on the team this year” Smart says. Dravon Clayborn, senior and member of the varsity squad, said “Aquan is definitely going to lead the team next year, hes a great kid with a huge passion for basketball”.
Besides being a talented basketball player, Smart is a tireless worker in the classroom who never puts his sport before his education.
“I work hard in the classroom because I aspire to be an engineer,” Smart says. This foresight and hard work is characteristic of Smart on and off the court. The Niles North Boys Varsity Basketball team has high expectations for their season, but with students like Smart on the team, the Vikings are poised to reach their goals and possibly even exceed them.

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Aquan Smart: Hard work pays off