Coach fondly remembers LCC basketball player who died April 23 in auto accident
The LCC community has lost one of its own far too soon.
Former LCC student and Stars basketball player Montel Smith died April 23 in an auto accident on Hartel Road in Grand Ledge. He was 22.
The Waverly alum furthered his academic and athletic talents at Spring Arbor University before returning to LCC.
“Montel came in and did a great job for us his freshman year,” LCC Head Coach Mike Ingram said. “We won the MCCAA Western Conference Championship. He was a high-energy guy, great three-point shooter and he came with the occasional highlight.”
Smith’s journey to LCC began playing high school basketball for the Warriors, where Ingram saw his talents firsthand.
“He was a great athlete,” Ingram said. “He went to Waverly where my kids went, so I tend to go over there and watch those games.”
During his career at LCC, Smith was a solid contributor for the Stars. He averaged over six points and 2.5 rebounds per game and was an 80-percent shooter from the free throw line.
“He was a great kid, he loved to play,” Ingram said. “You like guys that love to play, have great attitudes and he was one of those guys. It paid off for us because we won the championship.”
Even after his days of wearing royal blue were over, he returned to the Gannon Gym to spend his time working at Ingram’s yearly basketball camps, or just to play.
“Not only was he a former player, but after he left he became someone that worked my camps for me, and he worked my son’s camp,” explained Ingram. “All of a sudden he goes from a former player to being a friend.”
Ingram said Smith was a favorite at his camps. The kids who came to learn the game loved him because he always had a smile on his face and interacted with the campers.
“They also liked the fact that he could jump and throw the ball between his legs and dunk it,” Ingram said. “He was always a fan favorite with the kids.”
A first cousin to LCC Assistant Coach Melvin White, Smith was a regular on campus because White was someone he looked up to, according to Ingram.
“It was and is a crushing blow,” Ingram said. “He had been up to the gym three times that week. I don’t think you’ll find anybody that will have a bad word to say about him.”
CAPTION: Former LCC basketball player Montel Smith (right) was killed in an auto accident April 23.