GREAT MILLS, Md. – Congratulations to 26 outstanding youth athletes who received the 2023 Will Smith Award! Awards were presented Sunday, February 5 during the Recreation & Parks Middle School Select Basketball games at Great Mills High School. Special guests included William and Jeanne Smith, Will’s parents.
This award, established in 2009, serves to recognize middle school participants in the St. Mary’s County Recreation and Parks Youth Basketball Leagues that have demonstrated consistent positive sportsmanship on and off the court.
These players possess a passion for basketball and demonstrate a high level of both respect and leadership on the court and in their school.
The award is named after William (Will) Smith, Jr. who tragically lost his life on September 21, 2008. Will was a participant in the Recreation and Parks Youth Basketball League for six years.
He was a special athlete who loved the game of basketball and everyone involved. He believed the game was more than wins and losses but rather respect for one another, teamwork and sportsmanship.
Will eventually went on to play high school basketball at Great Mills High School and then at Becker College, but continued to volunteer his time to the basketball program whenever he had the chance. His family also contributed time and passion as his father, William, participated for over 30 as a referee, instructor and gym supervisor. His mother, Jeanne, served as a volunteer to the program for the benefit of the youth.
The following special athletes were selected as recipients of this year’s awards:
A special thank you to Derek Sabedra for the plaque donations, Gary Kralle (Will’s youth coach) and to Commissioner Mike Alderson for joining us to celebrate these youth athletes.