Guard Braden Smith (3) catches his breath during a college basketball game between the Michigan State Spartans and Purdue Boilermakers
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Purdue's Braden Smith is Following in His Mom's Basketball Footsteps


Purdue's run to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament might not have been possible without the help of freshman Braden Smith. But the point guard and former Indiana Mr. Basketball has the sport in his blood. After all, his mom, Ginny Smith, was Arkansas' Miss Basketball back in 1997. 

Braden Smith capped off his first regular season with the Boilermakers by averaging 10.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He's a 41.5% shooter from beyond the arch. And opposing teams would be wise to not send this guy to the foul line in a tight game if they're hoping to win, since he's 87.5% from the stripe. A stellar first season led the Purdue point guard to be named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and an All-Big Ten Team honorable mention. 

Before his freshman season at Purdue, Smith played high school ball for Westfield High near Indianapolis and owns the school's all-time leading records in both points and assists. It might not have happened at Purdue after a foot injury jeopardized the second half of his senior season at Westfield. Smith returned for the playoffs, posting back-to-back 22-point games before Westfield lost in the regional finals. But Smith had proved himself enough to be awarded Indiana's highest high school basketball honor, Mr. Indiana, and he committed to Purdue University. That marked the second consecutive Mr. Indiana that Purdue University was able to recruit. Smith's teammate Caleb Furst won the honor in 2021 and currently sits among the starting five with Braden. 

Basketball Runs In The Family 

Braden Smith #3 of the Purdue Boilermakers passes the ball during the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Mackey Arena

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At about the same time, Braden's mother was coaching the Westfield High School girls team to an 18-5 record, which earned her IBCA District 2 Coach of the Year honors. Growing up in Arkansas, Ginny attended Caddo Hills High School, where she was an integral part of the 1997 Arkansas Class A state championship team. After the season, she was named Arkansas Miss Basketball. 


At Arkansas Tech University, the Golden Suns made it to the NCAA Division II tournament in every one of Ginny's seasons on the team, which saw a national runner-up finish in 1998-99. She was First-Team All Gulf South Conference in 2001. 

Looking To Add To The Family Trophy Room 

 Purdue Boilermakers Guard Braden Smith (3) reacts after a play during the college basketball game between the Milwaukee Panthers and the Purdue Boilermakers

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Braden Smith added Big Ten champion to the family resume? after the Boilermakers were able to withstand a late rally by the Penn State Nittany Lions, winning their second Big Ten Tournament title. As they turn their attention to March Madness, they enter as the No. 1 seed in the East Region.

After a strong regular season and Big Ten Tournament, the Purdue Boilermakers are in a good position to make some waves in the March Madness tournament. With mom Ginny watching on, perhaps Smith can add one accomplishment currently missing from the Smith family trophy room: an NCAA national championship.   

MORE: Zach Edey and the Purdue Boliermakers Are Making a Strong Case for a National Title