FEDERAL WAY — Terrell Smith drills dagger three-pointers and makes dazzling dunks.
He takes as much pride in drawing a key charge as delivering a perfect pass.
The 6-foot-5 senior guard has turned in sensational performances at both ends of the court, leading the second-ranked Federal Way boys basketball team to a 6-0 start.
"He is a complete player," coach Jerome Collins said.
Smith has scored 20 or more in each game this season, including a career-best 44 last Tuesday against Kent-Meridian. The weekend before, he buried 7 of 12 three-point attempts in a 37-point performance against Mount Tahoma.
His 30.3 average ranks No. 1 in the greater Seattle area and Smith admits he would love to be the top scorer in the state this season. But his primary goal has nothing to do with how many points he scores.
"I'm just trying to help my team win," Smith said.
And not just win now. Win when it counts, in February and March to reach the Class 4A state tournament, a place Federal Way has not ventured since 2003, when Smith was in eighth grade at Lakota Junior High.
It was the year before that Smith started believing he might have what it takes to be an exceptional basketball player. As a seventh-grader at the Federal Way Public Academy, he played on a Boys and Girls Club team primarily composed of boys a year older and exploded for 63 points in one game.
"I had it going that night," Smith said. "After that, I thought maybe I could do something in this game of basketball."
Collins concurred when Smith got to Federal Way High School as a freshman, adding him to the varsity roster. A lanky 6-2 and 160 pounds, Smith played in nearly every game and averaged just under eight points. He started as a sophomore and became the No. 3 scorer (8.9 per game) on a team led by junior Pooh Williams.
Last season, Smith and Williams became a dynamic duo, combining for nearly 47 points per game. Smith complemented his 22.1 scoring average with eight rebounds and six assists per game. Many picked the Eagles to earn a trophy at the Class 4A state tournament. But a late swoon, when they lost three of their last six games, kept them from getting there.
Williams is now at Utah State, where he is redshirting, and much of Federal Way's fortunes this season are in the hands of Smith, who has committed to the University of Pacific in Stockton, Calif.
"He really has to step up and lead us," Collins said. "That was the focal point at the start of the season. Before, he could share the load with Pooh. Last year we had two go-to guys. The difference now is that Terrell is the leader and he is the go-to guy."
Smith, who has bulked up to 208 pounds this season, is living up to the challenge thus far, and not just by scoring. He is averaging 7.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 60 percent from the field, including 55 percent from three-point range.
"People always talk about how many points he scores, but he does get a lot of assists and he's smart with the ball," said junior Aaron Broussard, the only other returning starter from last year's team. "He's pretty much an all-around player."
A player driven to lead this young team to state — and all the way to the top when they get there.
"I've never been to state my whole high-school career," Smith said. "This year, it's kind of like Spencer Hawes [of Seattle Prep]. He never made it to state his first three years, and his senior year he came in and won the state tournament. That's what I'm trying to do."
Smith, who has a 3.4 grade-point average, said one of the reasons he made his college decision early is so he can play relaxed as a senior.
"I can just play basketball and not worry about who's in the crowd," he said.
Like many talented high-school players, Smith's ultimate goal is to reach the NBA, following in the footsteps of former Federal Way players Donny Marshall and Michael Dickerson. Collins would not be surprised to see him make it.
"I know that's a goal of his and he's got the potential to do that," he said. "He's as good as Dickerson or Donny coming out [of high school] He's got a shot at it."
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|Fast start at Federal Way|
|Terrell Smith is averaging 30.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists, and shooting 55 percent from three-point range in Federal Way's first six games this season. A look at his highlights in each:|
||Federal Way 72, Wenatchee 61
||Made 9 of 16 shots in opener|
||Federal Way 99, Mount Rainier 80
||Six assists, four three-pointers|
||Federal Way 52, Kentwood 49
||Hit a tiebreaking basket with 1:11 left|
||Federal Way 56, Tahoma 41
||Keyed 18-2 Eagles run with 10 points|
||Federal Way 75, Mount Tahoma 52
||Made 7 of 12 three-point attempts|
||Federal Way 119, Kent-Meridian 47
||Also had 11 rebounds, 7 assists|