Who Am I?
I am Donovan A. Smalls II, Founder of The Second Assist. I am an educator, doctoral student, author, and speaker. My academic, athletic, teaching, and coaching experiences have led me to examine the connection between life and sport. I am committed to analyzing relevant basketball topics in a way that is practical for student athletes. My interest in guiding student-athletes into having successful careers with or without being an athlete is beyond a passion. I believe that it is a part of my life purpose.
During my middle and high school years, I was a nationally ranked basketball player. Division I became a part of my vocabulary and focus at an early age. My determination and effort increased as I was invited to the prestigious Nike Basketball Camp. There, I found myself competing with and against current NBA players such as, Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Derrick Rose (Cleveland Cavaliers), Ishmael Smith (Detroit Pistons), and Spencer Hawes (Charlotte Hornets) to name a few. With letters of interest pouring in from major colleges and universities, I believed that my dream of being a Division I basketball player was becoming a reality. To substantiate my belief, I received personal phone calls from a former head coach at Stanford University among others. My family and I were convinced that I was going to be a Division I basketball player. However, my dreams of becoming a Division I student athlete took many detours and never went as planned.
As my athletic career unfolded, I was left without a Division I scholarship. It seemed as if my basketball goals would never become a reality. Like many other high school senior athletes who seek additional exposure, instead of enrolling in my first year of college, I attended prep school hundreds of miles away from home. The idea was to attract the attention of Division I coaches one last time. When the scholarship still did not come, I was heartbroken, embarrassed, and felt like a failure because I had worked so hard at becoming a Division I athlete. Not wanting to give up on my dreams, I tried to join the basketball team as a walk on at a Division I institution. However, walking on did not work out and once again I felt I had let myself down.
Nevertheless, I went on to play Division II and Division III basketball. Here, I learned how to use basketball as a tool to help me fulfill my life purpose. Although my athletic career was coming to an end, I realized that I could still become a professional in the sport field. I began to understand that I could have a tremendous impact on the lives of young people by teaching them the connection between life and sport.
How I Make A Difference
I make a difference by assisting individuals in looking at sport from a different perspective. My desire is to help student-athletes learn how to reinvent themselves as they transition from being a student athlete to a working professional. I want individuals to understand the relationship between being a student-athlete and their chosen career path. By learning how to use their passion for sports, student-athletes can become successful educators, entrepreneurs, doctors, coaches, authors, etc. My hope is to help student-athletes live a life of purpose with or without being a professional athlete.