Nick Smith Jr Commits to Arkansas

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After a long recruiting trail, the 5-star guard joins fellow ESPN Top 100 players Derrian Ford (68), Barry Dunning (76), and Joseph Pinion (93) in the Razorbacks’ 2022 recruiting class. A wild rollercoaster of a season in 2021 afforded Coach Musselman and the Hogs a trip to the Elite Eight, and elite recruits are taking note.

High School Success

Smith is the fourth commit to the 2022 class, and the third from the state of Arkansas. He played his first three high school seasons at Sylvan Hills before announcing his transfer to play with fellow 5-star recruit, Kel’el Ware.

Smith averaged 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game as a junior, earning himself All-Arkansas Preps Player of the Year honors. This comes one year removed from being named Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Underclassman of the Year as a sophomore when he averaged 21 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals per game!

In the summer of 2021, Smith has averaged 18.6 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists per game with playing with Brad Beal Elite at Peach Jam. It is worth noting that top NBA talent usually emerges at these camps, and Brad Beal Elite is the same squad that Moses Moody ran with during his high school summers.

Player Breakdown

Smith has the full package offensively. He scores well from all three levels and thrives making plays with the ball in his hands. His shooting stroke is fast yet fundamental – a combination NBA scouts search the globe for at such a young age. Smith has to work some on his efficiency, but that’s not uncommon for young guards entering the collegiate level. He’s got the tools to quickly adapt his game.

Along with his smooth shot form, Smith has shown the ability to penetrate into the paint and finish tough plays. He’s not an elite ball-handler per se, but the 6-4 guard has the talent and IQ to worm his way into the paint and finish around defenders. Smith doesn’t boast the athleticism of recent Hogs like Michael Qualls or Justin Smith, but don’t be surprised if he finds himself on SportsCenter for a rim-rattling slam every once in a while.

Smith is already learning to be a menace in the passing lanes defensively, and he has all the right tools to be molded into an elite defender, though he’s not quite at that level yet. His length and quickness give him an advantage over other players his age, but Smith has a compelling opportunity to get even better on the defensive side of the ball.

Hogs Top Other Options

Smith chose to come to Arkansas over the likes of Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma, Kansas, the NBL, and even a massive contract offer from the newly founded Overtime Elite basketball league for high school players looking to get paid on their way to the NBA rather than taking the college route.

Smith committing to the Hogs won’t only work wonders for his own career, but also the ever-growing revival of the Arkansas basketball program. Landing anyone in the Top 10 of ESPN’s recruiting rankings is noteworthy for scouts, players, coaches, and recruits from across the nation, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Hogs aren’t done with that Top 10 just yet.

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