Student-Athlete Spotlight: Hoops player sets high standard

Tayvis Sagrillo-Smiley seeks perfection in persistent practice


Tayvis Sagrillo-Smiley refused to stop taking practice shots at the basket, and he is one of the 4A Jeffco League's best shooters this season.

Littleton High School's Sagrillo-Smiley was the leading scorer in the Jeffco League after 11 games, and his 58 shooting percentage was tops among the top 36 players listed in the league's scoring statistics.

“I've been working on my shot,” said Sagrillo-Smiley. “Every day I'm in the gym I just want to get my shot better because you don't take breaks. If you want a good shot, it is something you have to consistently work on. I have consistently worked on that for a while and it is starting to show now.”

It took some time to develop, but Sagrillo-Smiley has changed his shot.

“My shot has come a long way,” he said. “It is a lot more efficient. I've had to change it a couple times. There was a time I had to catch it right to shoot it a certain way — otherwise, it just would not feel right. The other time I had to change it was how I brought it down. I would never just catch and shoot.”

Key stats

Sagrillo-Smiley is averaging 19.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.1 steals a game.

Coach's take:

`He's got everything you need on the floor. He has every skill, he's got every tool. He's very dedicated and extremely hard on himself. That's the one thing that drives him to be great, but it is also something he has to keep an eye on. He can score, defend and rebound.'

Ryan Fletcher,

Littleton boys basketball coach

Q&A with Sagrillo-Smiley

Who is your favorite athlete and why?

LeBron James, because he is such a machine. He is always going and he is so inspiring.

What or who motivates you most to excel in basketball?

My mom and my great-grandmother. She (great-grandmother) has been at every one of my games ever since I started playing. I have her name on my chest. That's what my mom points to if I'm not having my best game. She points to my chest because I have her (great-grandmother's) name there.

What is tough about playing defense?

Sometimes you don't get a right call, you have to stay mentally tough and try to play the best defense you can.

What is your favorite class in school and why?

Poetry. I like my own little way of writing things down. I feel like with poetry you can write down anything you want and it is not wrong.

What is your favorite basketball moment at Littleton?

Last year when we won our Senior Night game against Green Mountain. It was a really big game and we were all dialed in together. Right when I needed those free throws to go in, they went in.

What is the toughest thing about playing basketball?

Usually the toughest thing for me was always a mental thing. Just to be mentally strong if something didn't go just the way I wanted, just sort of staying in the game and brushing it off my shoulder.


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