NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont women's basketball alumna Kylee Smith spent the past week celebrating both Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family in Alpharetta, Ga. She won't be home for the winter holiday this year after all.
Smith (2015-18) this week signed a professional playing contract with German team Sportgemeinde 1886 e.V Weiterstadt.
"Pure joy. I don't think it will sink in until maybe I'm on the flight or even in Germany," Smith said of her signing. "I can't believe I will get paid to play basketball and do something I love. I'm so excited and so thankful."
S-G Weiterstadt is a professional women's basketball team located in Weiterstadt, Germany near the city of Frankfurt. The team plays in the DBBL (Damen Basketball Bundesliga). She will leave to join the team in the coming week.
"Every good & perfect gift comes from above" -James 1:17— Kylee Smith (@kyleexann) November 30, 2018
It's official! BEYOND excited to be moving to Germany to begin my pro bball career in Weiterstadt������ Thankful for all who have helped me, encouraged me, believed in me, prayed for me & loved me through this journey! pic.twitter.com/JBgeIqI9zD
Smith enjoyed one of the most decorated careers in Belmont's NCAA Division I era. Over three years as a Bruin, she scored 1,520 points, grabbed 564 rebounds and handed out 352 assists. All rank among the top eight in Belmont D-I history with her point total landing at No. 2 at the time of her final game.
She was a three-time All-Ohio Valley Conference First Team selection, and she was also named a COSIDA Academic All-American and the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2018.
After spending her freshman year at nearby Vanderbilt, Smith found a home at Belmont. It wasn't until her senior season that she started thinking about playing overseas though. She credits Belmont Head Coach Bart Brooks for the inspiration to "dream bigger."
"I had always dreamed of playing college basketball, but since last August I rediscovered a love for the game of basketball again. The joy of playing, I couldn't imagine giving this up."
Finding the right future home was a lengthy process, sometimes exhausting and frustrating even. Smith put her faith in God and tried to remain positive. She never stopped working in the eight months since her last game in a Belmont uniform. While continuing to train, she also completed an internship with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, worked as a television color commentator for the Bruins and continued her studies toward a master's degree in sport administration from Belmont.
"It's been a whirlwind, just having to trust God's plan," said Smith, who graduated from Belmont with a business administration degree in 2017. "I was still living a dream. This last year, people have really poured goodwill into me. I've had to rely on others so much and God really showed up through all these people in my life."
Smith joins former Belmont teammate Sierra Jones (2014-18) on the international circuit. Jones signed with Ausarata Barakaldo E.S.T. in Spain in July. The duo was part of a Belmont senior class that won three straight OVC Tournament titles and played in three NCAA Tournaments.