This topic is a pretty tough one for me to address, but should Zhaire Smith become Texas Tech basketball’s first ever one-and-done?
When asked weather he was considering the NBA, this was his response:
ZHAIRE SMITH: Moments after Texas Tech's 71-59 loss to Villanova, we had to the chance to speak with the team in the Red Raider locker room. Zhaire Smith was asked about the possibility of going to the NBA, and here are his thoughts. #WreckEm #KCBDSports pic.twitter.com/ZYn8U2uad8— Devin Ward (@DevinKCBD) March 25, 2018
I have debated this with the VTM folks with great passion and enthusiasm, but the more I push for Zhaire Smith to stay, the more I see a great big reason for him to leave. Smith is flying up draft boards. The feeling is that Smith will not hire an agent just yet, but will put his name out there and see what his draft stock is.
So should he stay or should he go?
Why he should stay:
Zhaire Smith should stay with the Red Raiders because he has a chance to do something special. Texas Tech made history this March and plans on building on this year’s performance. If Smith returns, he will help fill the void left by Keenan Evans and will probably be a primary scorer for the team. Smith could benefit from another year of coaching from Chris Beard. The scouting report on Smith is that he can jump out of the gym and has really good instincts on the defensive end. However, he needs to develop his game offensively. Despite shooting 54 percent from the floor and 45 percent from three, his jump shot could use some work and his ability to create shots for himself is another area for improvement.
Personally, I think one more year in college could benefit Smith as a ball handler and scorer. Let’s assume he comes back and improves offensively, improves as a primary ball handler, and declares for the 2019 NBA Draft. I think this would put Zhaire Smith in a position to be a top ten overall pick.
Why he should go:
C.R.E.A.M. Cash Rules Everything Around Me. If Zhaire Smith gets a guarantee from a team that he will go first round, there is a big check waiting for him. Realistically, Smith projects to go somewhere late in the lottery to late first round. The 14th pick of last year’s draft, Bam Adebayo of Kentucky (a one-and-done college player), made just under 2.5 million last year. Meanwhile, The last pick of the first round last season, Josh Hart of Villanova (a four-year player), made just under 1.4 million dollars. Should Zhaire Smith leave, he will have a hefty paycheck waiting for him, and avoids the risk of injuring himself while playing college ball for on more year.
As much as we may all want him to stay, Zhaire Smith will probably hear his name called in the 2018 NBA Draft. So one last time, let’s watch Smith do a 360 dunk and remind the world why Texas Tech Basketball is back on the map: