DANVILLE — A year ago, Mike Carpenter left Danville Area Community College to take the head coaching position at Wabash Valley College.
On Monday afternoon, Carpenter returned to Vermilion County and this time, he secured the services of Danville High standout Denzel Smith, who signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Warriors, an NJCAA Division I program.
“It just felt like a good fit,’’ said Smith, sporting a red shirt and black bow tie. “Coach Carpenter is a really good coach and they run a ball-screen motion offense.
“I feel like I should be able to come in and compete for playing time right away.’’
This past year, Smith averaged 22.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game for the Vikings, who went 11-17 overall and they were one win away from the school’s first regional title in 13 years.
The Warriors were 13-19 in Carpenter’s first season and they expected to return six players from that team.
In addition to Smith, Wabash Valley is also expected to sign Khalil Rasheed, a 6-foot-6 native of Radcliff, Ky., who actually started this past school year in Danville before transferring to a prep school when the IHSA would not clear him to play for the Vikings.
“I get the opportunity to play with one of my really good friends, Kahlil Rasheed,’’ said Smith, who was a two-time Commercial-News Player of the Year.
Carpenter gave thanks to Danville High coach Ted Houpt and Danville Area Community College coach DaJuan Gouard, his former assistant at DACC, for their help in getting Smith to Wabash Valley.
Smith also considered Indian Hills Community College in Iowa and Vincennes.
Rice earns top honor at Illinois basketball banquet
CHAMPAIGN — Junior Rayvonte Rice was named the Most Outstanding Player on Monday evening at the 92nd annual Illinois Men’s Basketball Banquet at the I Hotel and Conference Center.