Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
The Recruiting Guy:
Smith visiting Arkansas with stock on rise
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 5-star and top 10 prospect Nick Smith Jr. is expected to arrive in Fayetteville about 10 a.m. today to start his highly anticipated official visit to the University of Arkansas.
He’s looking forward to spending time with Coach Eric Musselman and staff, seeing the campus and attending the Razorback-Texas football game.
“One of the visits I was looking forward to,” Smith said. “I can’t wait to go.”
Smith, 6-5, 185 pounds, of North Little Rock made official visits to Kansas, Auburn and Alabama in June. He’s expected to officially visit Oklahoma next weekend.
He said Musselman has been selling him on being a Razorback.
“I’ve been talking to Eric Musselman since the 10th grade and he’s been giving me pointers and goals he has for me, Smith said. “Going to the campus and talking to him a little bit more I will have some more answers in terms of stuff like that.”
Smith shined during the summer while playing for Bradley Beal Elite and saw his stock skyrocket. He led Bradley Beal Elite to a 6-2 record and the finals of the prestigious Peach Jam in July while averaging 18.6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game.
Smith made a big jump in the ESPN updated rankings released on Sept. 1. He went from being a 4-star and the No. 35 prospect nationally to a 5-star and No. 6 overall in the 2022 class.
The previously highest ranked in-state prospect in the ESPN rankings was Bobby Portis, who was the No. 16 prospect in 2013. Musselman and assistant Keith Smart watched part of Smith and North Little Rock’s practice on Thursday.
He likes how Musselman gets all his players involved in his NBA style of play.
“He’s been around those type of guys all his life,” said Smith of Musselman’s NBA background. “In terms of that, I feel like I have to look into the situation.”
Smith recently said he wasn’t considering playing professionally.
“I just really want to go to college and get a free education,” Smith said. “My parents have blessed me and my siblings being in a good spot, so I’m really not in a need for money right now.”
Former Razorback and NBA player Ronnie Brewer joined Musselman’s staff in July as a recruiting coordinator.
“I knew of Ronnie we really never talk before that but I’ve been talking to him ever since he started the job,” Smith said. “I talk to Coach Ronnie. He’s cool.”
His official visits to Fayetteville and Norman will be his last trips.
“After these two visits, I’m pretty much done with all the visiting,” Smith said.
Smith is unsure when he’ll announce his college decision.
“I’’m really not sure yet,” Smith said. “I’ve been talking to my dad about it. I’m not really in a rush to commit anywhere right now. Just weighing my options and hearing everybody out is one of the goals I want to get done first before I make any decision.”
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