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:
Nick Smith Jr. named nation's No. 1 prospect
Arkansas signee Nick Smith Jr. is introduced prior to the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago on March 29, 2022.
Arkansas signee and North Little Rock guard Nick Smith Jr. has become the second Arkansan to be declared the No. 1 prospect in the nation.
247 Sports has released updated rankings and Smith is the new No. 1 recruit. Former Razorbacks great and NBA veteran Corliss Williamson was also ranked No. 1 as a senior at Russellville in 1992.
Smith, 6-5, 185 pounds, is the first in-state player to be ranked No. 1 in the recruiting services era.
He is ranked the No. 2 prospect nationally by Rivals and No. 3 by ESPN.
Smith’s resume includes being selected to play in the McDonald’s All American Game, the Jordan Brand Classic, where he was named MVP, and representing USA Basketball at the 2022 Nike Hoop Summit in April.
ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi was part of the broadcast team for the Jordan Brand Classic, where Smith had 27 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.
He was 7 of 13 from the field, 5 of 7 from from three-point range and was 8 of 8 at the free throw line at the event in Chicago.
“He just comes with a mindset that it’s all business, and it’s hard for kids to do that,” said Biancardi after the game. “He takes the game seriously and he’s a serious player. Plus, he’s talented, he shoots the ball extremely well. He has great elevation on his jumper, but he never settles on jumpers. He looks to attack and probe.
“He’s a dangerous facilitator because he demands so much attention. People try and stop him, but he’s not a one-trick pony. He keeps doing the same thing at a high level – scores, defends and plays a team game and competes.”
Smith and future Razorbacks teammates Jordan Walsh and Anthony Black are three of 27 athletes expected to participate at the 2022 USA Basketball Men’s U18 FIBA Americas Championship National Team training camp from May 26-June 2 in Houston.
They will be vying for 12 spots on the USA Basketball U18 National Team that will compete at the 2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship in Tijuana, Mexico, from June 6-12.
Smith, the two-time Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Boys Player of the Year, averaged 26.5 points, 8 rebounds and 7.3 assists to lead North Little Rock to a second consecutive Class 6A state title last season.
Arkansas’ class ranking is No. 2 by all three major recruiting services.
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