PAGO PAGO - Former 2011 Oceania All Star, Talanoa Smith, returned to American Samoa recently and showed his dedication to inspire and help develop the next generation of players from his homeland, by participating in the 2013 Summer Youth project.
The talented guard will soon enter his junior season in the NCAA with Willamette University of Salem, Oregon, and is hoping to become a starter for the Bearcats during the forthcoming campaign.
But during his off-season, Smith has been happy going back to his roots and was particularly delighted to have had the chance to give something back to aspiring young athletes.
In order to help and ensure they are presented with the same kind of opportunities he benefited from, the player was invited to be part of a clinic which was facilitated by the American Samoa Basketball Association (ASBA) President Milton Taufa'asau.
The event was focused upon helping to train young athletes and allow for those already involved in the sport to give something back to the community - the perfect recipe as far as Smith was concerned.
"It was a great opportunity not only for me to give back, but to have seen these young boys and girls have a chance to develop their skills and talent, and perhaps one day represent American Samoa in international competition," he said.
Smith has been training vigorously in the off-season during his time back on home soil and will return to the United States next month to resume his college career.
A stand-out playmaker for Tafuna High School, he helped collect multiple championship titles and eventually earned a roster spot with the national team in 2009.
Smith also played in 2010 for the American Samoa U19 national team that competed in New Caledonia and he earned a spot on the 2011 Oceania All-Star team that played for the Australia Cup.
ASBA President Taufa'asau was thrilled that Smith has vowed to pull on a national team jersey again in the future.
"Talanoa has the talent and training to compete at a higher level and we're very excited to have him commit to the national team programme," he said.
Smith has already pencilled in a return to American Samoa to join up with the men's national team that will compete in Papua New Guinea at the 2015 Pacific Games.