dsu athletics news
- Baseball News
- Cross Country News
- Football News
- Men's Basketball News
- Softball News
- Track News
- Volleyball News
- Women's Basketball News
dsu athletics pages
Smidts still involved in basketball
July 26, 2012
MADISON, S.D. - You could say this is the story about 'The Gym Rat' and 'The Tom Boy', and you'd be right.
'The Gym Rat' is Jason Smidt and 'The Tom Boy' is his wife Many (Kruger) Smidt.
Both are former Dakota State basketball players who are now involved in the Brookings School District's technology program. He is the technology coordinator and she will be a technology specialist who will inform and educate teachers in the area about various technologies in classrooms.
Also, Jason will be the girls' junior varsity basketball coach and Mandy will coach the sophomore girls under Coach Lynn Frederick, who was Jason's coach at Brookings High School.
What made Jason's NAIA All-American career, which ended in 2000, so remarkable?
It's that in the 12 seasons since then Smidt is still the all-time 3-pointer shooter in the Trojan's history.
The former Brookings Bobcat launched 302 treys in his four-year career, which included 116 made threes in his senior year.
His 24.7 points-per-game average as a senior made him the South Dakota-Iowa Conference's top scorer, a three-time All-Conference selectee and, finally, an NAIA All-American.
Smidt's basketball story begins with the help of his parents Lyle and Gloria Smidt. It was then nurtured by Coach Frederick and then honed by then-Trojan Coach Tom Cameron and his staff here at Dakota State.
"I was a real gym rat," Smidt freely admitted. "Dad and Mom got me to the local gyms. There wasn't a day that I wasn't in the gym, spending two to three hours there."
"Coach Frederick taught me a ton about basketball. And, Coach Cameron and his assistants Reggie Brown and Shane Warwick all refined my basketball skills in college."
"Jason was the best shooter I'd ever coached," smiled Cameron, who is now White River's superintendent. "He was my first recruit. When I was still Redfield's coach, I'd seen him play against Watertown. When I got the job at DSU that spring, Jason was the first high school senior I called."
Jason played the last three seasons with his backcourt teammate Scot Namanny, a former Sioux Falls Washington Warrior who joined the Trojans a year after Smidt.
"That senior season, a lot of things came together, especially playing with Scot," said Smidt. "We set each other up on a lot of plays."
"Jason was the shooter between us," added Namanny, who is now a mortgage lender for a Great Western Bank branch in Sioux Falls. "I just tried to get the ball to Jason as much as possible. After all, he was the better shooter."
Namanny added, "Jason was a very humble, funny guy. He was the kind of guy you could pal around with. On the court, though, he was the kind of guy who led by example. He wasn't a vocal kind of fellow. Really, he was a pleasure to know and play with. All I know is that he really helped my basketball career."
Mandy (Kruger) Smidt
"I was pretty much a tomboy grouping up in Gillette, Wyoming, which was a basketball town," said Mandy.
She credits the support of her parents Fritz and Paulette Kruger and the feistiness of her twin brother Mitch and that of sisters Holly and Amy for her first exposure to basketball.
Also, the coaching of Garland Marso, Mitch Holst and Russ Hall through the years at Campbell County High School primed Mandy for her first two post high school years at Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyo. (She entered Northwest after an All-Conference and All-State high school career.)
Mandy was recruited by Coach Jeff Dittman to come to Madison and DSU to complete her college career.
"That year (2000), we were looking for some guards, and Mandy was on my (short) list," said Dittman. "We got two very good years from Mandy (as a starter). She worked very had and was a speedy guard."
In her first season at Dakota State, she suffered an ankle injury and was in the training room one day.
"I had seen Jason around. He was a graduate student assistant, but that day he came into the training room. We just started talking with each other."
The rest, they say, is history. They were married on August 31, 2003.
"Coach Dittman encouraged me a lot, but a lot of my confidence came from Jason," she added. "DSU has a great basketball program. It was great playing with the talent we had, especially making it back to the NAIA Tournament as a senior."
Those talented players included, according to Mandy, Molly Hathaway (who also played with her at NWCC), Jessica Honermann, Jennie Sonne, Amy Balk and Hali McClelland.
Half-jokingly and half-seriously, they are working on getting their 5 1/2-year-old daughter Logan and 1-year-old son Hayden ready to play for Dakota State University.
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant
Edited by Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director