A reporter sensed a theme of youth when asking fourth-year Arkansas Coach …
Schools keep up efforts to recruit Smith
Sylvan Hills junior Nick Smith, who is rated as one of the nation’s top players for the 2022 recruiting class, averaged 25 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game this season, despite facing double and triple teams throughout the season. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Justin Cunningham)
ESPN 4-star shooting guard Nick Smith announced a top 10 in January, but other schools outside that list continue to recruit him.
Smith, 6-5, 176 pounds, of Sylvan Hills named a top 10 of the University of Arkansas, Auburn, Georgetown, Florida, Ole Miss, North Carolina, Kansas, Texas Tech, Baylor and Oral Roberts.
He recently revealed some new schools actively recruiting him.
“I’ve been talking to Michigan a lot,” he said. “I’ve been talking to Oklahoma. There’s a few other schools. Illinois.”
ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi updated his rankings for the 2022 class Wednesday and moved Smith up two spots to No. 41 overall in the nation. He’s also rated the No. 8 shooting guard.
Arkansas is one of the schools recruiting Smith hard.
“A lot of schools have been coming at me hard,” he said. “Arkansas for sure. Ole Miss, Auburn, I’ve been talking to Baylor a lot since the tournament was over. I’ve been talking to Kentucky more. And Georgetown.”
Razorbacks Coach Eric Musselman and his staff don’t miss opportunities to contact Smith.
“I’ve been talking to Coach Muss pretty much every day,” he said. “I love their program. I also talk to the assistant coaches as well.”
Smith has a good vibe with Musselman.
“He’s a cool dude,” Smith said. “He’s very energetic as everybody knows. I feel like he’s very caring. He knows what he’s talking about.”
Smith was named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Underclassman of the Year after averaging 21.3 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals per game as a sophomore. He was named the All-Arkansas Preps Player of the Year after averaging 25 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists as a junior last season.
The NCAA recently announced the dead period that’s been in place since March 13, 2020, will be lifted June 1 so that prospects can make visits to college campuses.
Smith likely will be invited to numerous college camps and prestigious individual camps such as the Pangos All-American camp in June. Because of that, he is unsure whether he’ll make official visits during the month.
“I really haven’t talked to my parents about that,” said Smith, who’s playing for Bradley Beal Elite this spring and summer. “For sure college coaches have been wanting me to take visits in June, but I’m really not sure if that’s going to happen.”
The Hogs have one commitment in the 2022 class from Morrilton’s Joseph Pinion, who’s been trying to get other prospects to Fayetteville.
“He’s not really saying too much, but he has been talking to me about Arkansas a lot,” Smith said.
With the in-state 2022 class being deep in talent, Pinion is trying to duplicate the 2020 recruiting class that saw in-state prospects Moses Moody, Davonte Davis, Jaylin Williams and Khalen Robinson sign with the Hogs. ESPN rated the 2020 class the No. 5 recruiting haul in the nation.
“I tell him like I tell everybody else, I treat every school the same way when it comes to recruiting because I just want to pick the right school for me,” Smith said.
The recruiting process can be a challenge.
“It’s sometimes kind of frustrating,” he said. “There’s a lot of great schools you want to go to but you can only choose one, and a lot of coaches leave, which is really weird [and] frustrating, but I’m extremely blessed to have these opportunities.”
Smith said he and his parents talk about recruiting.
“We have conversations, but we really haven’t just sat down and said this is the pros and the cons of each college,” he said.
It appears his decision will be several months down the road.
“I’ll make a decision in either October or November,” Smith said. “Try to get it out of my way before my senior season.”
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