TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) — Jarquez Smith grew up in Haddock, Ga., about two hours southeast of Atlanta, with both of his parents and his 11 brothers and sisters. Jarquez is the youngest.
He attended Jones County High School, where he helped lead them to their first state playoff appearance in 12 years, but had a different high school experience than people might think.
His parents were strict and did not allow him to go out at night because they were afraid he would get himself into trouble.
“They wouldn’t let me out of the house when I came home from school.” Smith said of parents.
“Once the street lights came on, that was it. I couldn’t go anywhere.”
Any person that hangs around Smith now knows that he is a quiet guy and prefers to keep to himself.
Smith admires his parents because of what they did for him.
“They kept me out of trouble and straightened me out before high school.” Smith said. “They helped mold me into the man I am today.”
Smith is very close with his parents and his sisters. They attend most every game at Florida State and all live close by.
“It’s because we are always around each other and we like to spend a lot of time together,” Smith said.
Smith did not just play basketball growing up, he also played other sports including football and baseball. He chose to pursue basketball because that was his strongest sport and he was “too tall” to play football.
“Basketball is a family thing” Smith said. “Everyone in my family and town played it, it was kind of just natural.”
Most of Smith’s sisters are over six feet tall and played basketball growing up as well. As a family, they would always compete on the court.
Outside of his family Smith said he looks up to his former AAU coach, James Forrest. Forrest was Mr. Basketball in the state of Georgia in 1989-90 and went on to become one of the all-time greats at Georgia Tech. Forrest did what Smith one day aspires to do — make it in the pros and have a long, successful career, either in the NBA or in Europe. Smith keeps in touch with Forrest to this day.
Smith has grown a lot from his days growing up in Haddock.
“Jarquez has had some special moments in his career as a Seminole but he still has such a high ceiling he can reach,” said FSU associate head coach Stan Jones. “His low-key personality sometimes is a detriment to consistency. It’s hard not to have a great conversation with Jarquez because of how respectful and personable he is. I have a great sense that before this season is over, Jarquez’s light is going to show white hot and he is going to leave FSU with some big moment memories of his contribution to his team as a senior.”
Teammate and fellow forward Phil Cofer also speaks highly of Smith.
“Jarquez is my roommate and he is like a brother to me,” Cofer said. “He’s the funniest guy I know by far and he always makes to time to help any of his teammates whenever they need help. He is one of the most giving people I have ever met.”
Smith came out of Jones County High school as a four-star recruit and has lived up to his high school accolades during his career at Florida State.
Smith played in over 30 games in each of his first three seasons and is on pace to do that once again in his senior season. Since beginning his career at Florida State, Smith has been a defensive force with his athleticism and length. He has become just the 16th player in Florida State history to have over 100 career blocks in his career. Smith’s leadership and relaxed mentality has helped lead the Seminoles to a fast start in the 2016-17 season as he and the rest of the Seminole basketball team hope to make their first NCAA Tournament since the 2011-2012 season.
Smith says he is ready for the rigors of ACC play – the conference portion of the Seminoles’ schedule with begins Wednesday at home against Wake Forest. Tip-off is at 5 p.m., and the game will broadcast live on ESPN2.
“This is the most exciting time of the year – conference play,” said Smith. “This is the time of year that we work hard for beginning in June. It doesn’t get any better than this if you are a college basketball player. This is what we have prepared for all season long and the only thing better will be playing in the NCAA Tournament.”
By Bret Clein
Florida State Sports Information