Tennessee Temple University basketball coach Brac Brady found the answer to a big need without having to go far. Rhea County standout Jalen Smith, who averaged 21.4 points a game as a senior, signed scholarship papers Friday to continue his career with the Crusaders. Smith, who lives in Evensville, said he talked also to Bryan College, Lee University and Roane State Community College but liked Temple for its relatively small size and what he saw as a rising program. "Definitely, the coaching staff" was a factor, he said, citing Brady and new assistant Ricky Taylor in particular, and the school's Christian identity was a plus as well. The 6-foot-1 shooting guard also averaged about three assists and six rebounds a game, but Brady said his best feature is his ability to put the ball in the basket. "We're excited to get him," the coach said. "We really wanted to find a shooter, and we think we found one in him. We'll work on his footwork and other parts of his game, but I think he can contribute right away. He has a good demeanor and he shoots the ball really well, and he seemed really drawn to Temple."
• After helping athletic director Kenrick Liburd this past year as a graduate assistant with Tennessee Temple University women's basketball, Monique Blanding is getting her own Crusaders team at the age of 22. Blanding, a former basketball standout at Reinhardt University, also ran track at Newnan (Ga.) High School and is taking on the role of head cross country coach at Temple. "Administratively she's fantastic -- her degree is sports administration -- and she understands the recruiting part of things," Liburd said. "Her moral character and relationships with student-athletes are second to none, and with her background in track and her knowledge of collegiate athletics, it made sense to hire from within for this position." Blanding said she did a variety of events in track, including hurdles and the 800-meter distance. "The training aspect of it, it's all the same," she added. "I wouldn't have taken this job if I didn't like being here. I like where I am, and I feel like the athletic department is making drastic changes for the better, and I like the goals they have."
• No fewer than 60 members of the Chattanooga Jets Track Club qualified last week at Brentwood (Tenn.) High School for the USATF Region VI Junior Olympic meet July 6-7 at Natchez, Miss., most in multiple events. Individually, Chancis Jones, Alex Trotter, Myles Patton, Jujuan Lewis, Alexis Wilson, Haleigh Montgomery, Patrick Curran, Drew Dunston, Lennex Walker, Kayla Hayes, Jerome Stoudemire, Brevin Sims, Cahlib Edwards, Kimbra Dunning, Alisia Lindsey, Danielle Dunning and J'yniah Reviere each had one event win for the Jets, who totaled 13 4x100 or 4x400 relay victories in he various age groups.
• Justin Glover pitched a three-hitter and had a hit as the Chattanooga Cyclones 15-under baseball team won 4-1 over Game Ready Athletics in their first game at the Perfect Game World Wood Bat National Championship. Noah Hill had two hits and scored a run and Alex Darras and Brett Barbree each had an RBI hit for the Cyclones. Tyson Cooper added a hit, a stolen base and a run scored.
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