The true measure of the value P. J. Smith brought to the Aberdeen boys basketball team this winter was reflected in something the senior guard said recently.
"Scoring is not a big thing with me. I like to get my teammates in the game, and when I do, it makes my role easier," he said.
His efforts may have made his role easier, but when the big play or the big points were needed, there was no question as to who was the go-to player.
By season's end, Smith (his given name is Paul, but he prefers the initials) was among the top 10 county players in five statistical categories, and the Eagles (18-6) had reached the Class 3A regional final for a fourth straight year.
In recognition of his efforts, Smith is this year's Baltimore Sun Boys Basketball Player of the Year for Harford County.
Of Smith, teammate Thomas Williams, a senior forward and another All-County selection, said, "He made me a better player by fussing at me in practice, reminding me I was a senior and I had to step up. Then, there would be times in a game when he'd let me know I'd done a good job.
"At the beginning of the year, I thought we had a chance to make the playoffs again, but we wouldn't have done it without P. J. He kept after us about being tough, playing hard and being there for each other."