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 named most competitive in '22 class by ESPN's Biancardi
West boy's Nick Smith Jr., participates in the first half of the McDonald's All-American Boys basketball game Tuesday, March 29, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi named Arkansas signee and North Little Rock guard Nick Smith Jr. the most competitive player in the nation in the 2022 class.
Smith, 6-5, 185 pounds, was recently named the top prospect in the nation in the last updated rankings by 247 Sports.
Biancardi was on hand to see Smith score 27 points and earn MVP honors at the Jordan Brand Classic in Chicago in April.
"His approach has been business like," Biancardi said. "He steps on the court with a purpose. His goal is to win and to play well. At the McDonald’s All American practices his intensity and serious approach stood-out among NBA scouts as well as his skill and scoring IQ.
"His competitive nature helped attract Anthony Black to Arkansas. He does not let a bad play or a miss shot effect his competitive spirit. I expected him to be a big part of Arkansas success this season."
Smith, who finished as the No. 2 prospect nationally by Rivals and No. 3 by ESPN, is the second Razorbacks signee to be named one of Biancardi’s best in the class of 2022 while future Razorback guard Anthony Black was the third with him being the most improved in the class.
Biancardi recently said signee Jordan Walsh is the best two-way player in the 2022 class on Monday.
Smith was a two-time Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Boys Player of the Year. He 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.
He, along with Walsh and Black, also took part in the McDonald’s All-American Game. The trio is 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, which will compete at the 2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship in Tijuana, Mexico, from June 6-12.
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