The Recruiting Guy:

Nick Smith Sr. a believer in Eric Musselman

By: Richard Davenport Richard Davenport's Twitter account
Published: Monday, October 4, 2021
Sylvan Hills junior Nick Smith
( Justin Cunningham)
Sylvan Hills junior Nick Smith

Nick Smith Sr., the father of Arkansas ESPN 5-star commitment Nick Smith, is a believer in Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman after getting to know him during the recruiting process.

“I asked a lot of questions because I wanted to make sure we got in the right situation. Coach Musselman was authentic, he was real and I appreciated his honesty, and I honestly feel like he was the best coach for Nick in trying to get where we’re trying to get,” Smith Sr. said. “I felt like he was the best coach for that.”

Smith Jr., 6-5, 185 pounds, of North Little Rock, chose the Razorbacks over Alabama, Auburn, Kansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Texas, Oregon and Arkansas Pine Bluff and other programs.

Musselman extended an offer to Smith in July 2019 after a few months on the job and when Smith was a sophomore at Sylvan Hills.

The elder Smith explained why he felt confident in Musselman’s program being the right fit for his son.

“He broke down film,” Smith Sr. said. “He let us understand Nick’s strengths, showed us opportunities where he was going to have a chance to be put into the right situations as a basketball player. Just those conversations and then having an opportunity to come in as a freshman and display your skillset, those are some of the things that was interesting to us.”

ESPN also ranks Smith the No. 4 shooting guard and No. 6 overall prospect in the nation for the 2022 class.

The younger Smith showed promise early on but his mentality as a prospect changed a few years ago.

“A couple years ago he really asked me some questions about how to get better and as a dad I love those conversations,” Smith Sr. said. “We watch film and he took the coaching and he continued to improve as the years went on.”

Smith announced his decision with ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi on Instagram last Wednesday with more than 200 people in attendance at Arkansas Fitness and Athletics in Little Rock.

Smith Sr. was beaming with joy shortly after his son’s announcement.

“I’ve obviously been there since the beginning. It’s just been a blessing to see him grow and continue to develop and mature as a basketball player and as a young man,” he said.

He was humbled by the large number of people showing support by attending his son’s announcement event.

“It meant a lot to me because it lets me know how much the city of Little Rock, North Little Rock, Jacksonville, supports him. The state of Arkansas is excited about it,” Smith Sr. said. “We’re excited about it, my wife is excited about it, so it’s just a big deal for us and our family.”

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