Smith earns SEC freshman of the week honor

Arkansas guard Nick Smith Jr. (3) reacts, Tuesday, February 21, 2023 during the second half of a basketball game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. Visit for today's photo gallery...(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas guard Nick Smith picked up an honor from the Southeastern Conference on Monday.

The Jacksonville native was named SEC freshman of the week for his play in the Razorbacks’ 1-1 week against Georgia and No. 2 Alabama. It is the second time Smith has earned the award this season.

“After the Alabama game, you walk into the locker room, nobody is more upset than Nick Smith,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. “He’s a competitor. He rises to the occasion. That’s not easy to do with the amount of time that he missed.”

In his second start since returning Feb. 11, he scored a season-high 26 points against the Bulldogs on 9 of 14 from the floor. Smith made 5 of 8 three-point attempts.

He followed up that performance with a 24-point game against the Crimson Tide on Saturday. He was 9 of 23 from the field, including 2 of 3 beyond the arc, recorded 6 rebounds, 2 steals and did not turn the ball over in 40 minutes.

According to HoopLens data, the Razorbacks last week scored 1.14 points per possession in his 133 offensive possessions. They also shot 53.8% from three-point range with Smith in the lineup.

Arkansas (19-10, 8-8 SEC) returns to play on Tuesday at Tennessee, which is No. 12 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Razorbacks close the regular season Saturday with a home game against Kentucky.