Justin Smith signs with GNTC

On hand to watch Justin Smith (seated, center) signing with the Bobcats were his mother Lakischa Harmon and this brother Traveon Coleman. Also at the ceremony were Howard assistant coach James Talley and Georgia Northwestern head coach David Stephenson. (Messenger photo/Scott Herpst)

The Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats volleyball team and basketball team have picked up recruits from the Chattanooga area this season and the men’s basketball team recently decided to follow suit.

Head coach David Stephenson crossed into the Volunteer State in late June to sign guard Justin Smith. Smith prepped at Howard High School, which has always been a hotbed for prep basketball talent.

“We’re really excited about Justin because this is our first player ever from Howard and we’re once again crossing those state lines,” Stephenson said. “He’s cat-like quick and he comes from a traditionally strong program here at Howard. He’s been coming to our open gym workouts and if we have a hole at point guard, he’s someone that can step in and fill it really quick.

“Plus, I have a lot of respect for (Howard) Coach (Walter) McGary. Coach McGary speaks really highly of Justin, not just as a player, but as a young man too, so we’re excited to get him.”

Smith said there were times he wasn’t sure signing day would ever arrive.

“Sometimes I kind of doubted myself, but I just kept faith in God and today, it feels great,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to taking this next step.”

Smith played point guard, shooting guard and some small forward for the Hustlin’ Tigers, but said that he feels like he is more suited to play the point in college.

“I think I’ll fit in better (at Georgia Northwestern) as a point guard,” he explained. “I like to get my teammates the ball. I love to give out assists and with my energy and speed, and I can get past people.

“When I first started going to the workouts, there was just a natural click. Everyone seemed to be on the same level. No one was cocky or anything. It just seemed like one team, one goal and I liked it. I think I’ll fit in great there.”

Howard assistant coach James Talley also spoke highly of Smith.

“They’re getting a good, hard-working player that’s very dependable and someone you can always count on,” he said. “He’s a good 3-point shooter and someone who attacks the basket the pretty well. Plus, he has a lot of speed. He can really get up and down the floor and with the way today’s game is, speed is very crucial for any team.”

Smith said he is planning to study Early Childhood Development.