Cameron Smith knew he wouldn’t be starting over when he decided to spend his final two years of high school in Franklin.
The junior’s new surroundings are really his old surroundings, sort of.
“It was very easy coming back,” said the high-scoring 6-foot-2 guard, who attended Franklin Community Schools from preschool through seventh grade before transferring to Indian Creek for Grades 8-10.
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“I knew everybody here, and
I had stayed close to my (Franklin) friends even when I was at Indian Creek.”
The talented left-hander maximized his basketball time in a Braves’ uniform, averaging
12.8 points as a freshman in 2012-13. Last winter he produced 16.3 points per game for an
11-10 Indian Creek squad, landing him a spot on the Daily Journal’s All-County Team.
Now Smith is back. In Franklin, that is. And it’s been suggested his hoops skill set is better than ever.
After scoring 27 points in the Cubs’ 58-51 overtime loss at Center Grove on Nov. 25, Smith struggled at home in a loss to Decatur Central (seven points). A week after being humbled by the Hawks, Franklin picked up its first Mid-State Conference victory at Greenwood, 76-69.
All Smith did here was drill eight of 13 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 40 points.
Rest assured Smith because of his 25.2-points-per-game scoring average will be a marked man at the Carroll Shootout, a 12-team hoops bonanza in which the Grizzly Cubs play two games Friday and two more Saturday.
It’s this type of competition that played a role in Smith’s decision to transfer.
“I wanted to play at a (Class) 4A level rather than 3A because the competition is better. The game is quicker, the players stronger,” he said.
Some of the heavyweight programs vying for the team title at the Carroll Shootout include three ranked 4A programs —
No. 3 Homestead, 10th-ranked Merrillville and No. 15 Carroll — along with Class A No. 4 Fort Wayne Blackhawk.
Franklin’s Friday games take place at East Noble High School. First is a 10 a.m. tipoff against the 5-3 Munster Mustangs followed by a 2 p.m. game against Carroll (6-1).
The tournament is a golden opportunities for the Grizzly Cubs (2-4) to better the overall product before returning home for a demanding January schedule that includes the Johnson County Tournament and games at Mooresville, Whiteland and New Palestine.
Offensively, through six games, Smith has produced 42 percent of the Grizzly Cubs points. Despite the gaudy scoring average, the junior knows his overall game needs to improve.
“Right now my defense and ball handling need to get better,” Smith said. “As a team, just getting everyone to talk on the court because that’s going to make us a better defensive team.”
First-year Franklin coach Brad Dickey, who also is six games into being a Grizzly Cub, values everything Smith brings to the program both on the court and off.
“Cameron has been our leader, but we have other guys who are improving. I appreciate his positive attitude. He’s a pleasant person. He’s happy. I’ve yet to see him down, and that makes it more fun to support him and to see him succeed,” Dickey said.
“I’ve seen him accomplish a lot of things in our open-gym setting, and he has a few defensive things he can offer, too.”
THE SMITH FILE
Name: Cameron Smith
Family: Parents, Kenneth and Jill; brothers, Austin, 19, and Nolan, 15
Favorite TV show: “Tosh.0”
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: “Hoosiers”
Favorite athlete: Stephen Curry
Favorite team: Golden State Warriors