11.27.12: The CCRI Lady Knights basketball team is off to an excellent 6-0 start and is ranked No. 16 in the latest NJCAA Division II basketball poll. The Lady Knights success yielded the program’s first signing during the women’s basketball early signing period. CCRI Co-Captain Jahira Smith from Norwich, CT by way of Brooklyn, NY was signed by the Lady Panthers of Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC. CCRI Head Coach Kate Lynch commented “I cannot really begin to say how very proud I am of Jahira and what she has accomplished at CCRI. ‘Jah’ has set numerous records and has set the standard for where we want to take our program. She makes everyone around her better, both on and off of the floor. Jahira is the consummate teammate, a true leader, and a competitor. She has all of the intangibles that you dream of in a player. Jah is going to continue to flourish."
Smith exploded on the scene for the 2011-12 Lady Knights leading them in almost every statistical category while leading them to their 9th consecutive Region XXI title. Jahira was the top scorer with 502 total points averaging 16.2 points per game where she was ranked No. 41 nationally, rebounds with 217 averaging seven rebounds per game, Smith set the single season record for assists with 183 total and 5.9 per game, blowing away the former record of 156 by Nicole Girard in 2008-09, she is also ranked No. 14 nationally in assists nationally. Smith recorded an impressive 11 double-doubles and one triple-double in her 31 games played. In addition, she tied the single-game assist record when she recorded 14 versus Orange County CC on January 21st, a record she shares with Jessica Aldrich in 1994 and Jen Rado in the 2001-02 season. Lastly, she crushed the CCRI steals record out of the water with 110 steals so far averaging 4.2 per game ranking her No. 8 in the Nation while crushing the former record of 93 held by Lauren Harrington in the 2008-09 season. Making Smith’s numbers even more impressive is that she plays on a very young team with only one sophomore and she moved from playing shooting guard to point guard mid-season and did not miss a beat. In her sophomore campaign through six games as a starter Smith is averaging 20.2 points, 5.8 assists, 4.3 steals and 3.7 rebounds per game.
Smith was signed the same day as Karahn Scott from Toledo, OH. Claflin Head coach Tiffany D. Tucker commented about her two signees: “Jahira and Karahn come from hard-working families and it shows in their game. They are excellent students and accomplished athletes. Smith and Scott come from championship programs and they understand what it takes to win. They have the ability to become ‘program changers’ within our system. My staff and I are excited they chose Claflin University among the other colleges and universities. We hope that this encourages our other prospects to get on board. We have some great local talent that would look great in Orange & Maroon,”
Lady Knights’ Coach Lynch concluded about her standout "We will miss Jahira a lot next year. Not only is she a fantastic player, but she is an even better young lady. Jah brings joy to everyone around her. I am thrilled for her and the decision that she has made to attend Claflin University next year. Jahira is going to continue to be successful at the next level and I cannot wait to see what she accomplishes at Claflin. The sky is truly the limit."
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.