Nick Smith Jr. is a name you need to remember in the Class of 2022. The number one ranked prospect in the state of Arkansas has propelled himself into the national conversation. It’s no mistake that the 6’4” guard holds over 15 offers from schools such as Baylor, Auburn, and of course, Texas Tech. Smith Jr. has established himself as a top-50 with his ability to do essentially everything you could want from a guard. “I bring energy... I can do anything the coach wants me to do,” he told me when we spoke in late July. “Shoot, defend, facilitate, I can basically can do it all,” he said. He’s not kidding either. Smith Jr. is not only incredibly talented but his skills are versatile. He can shoot it well off the bounce but can also attack the basket. He also has great passing vision and rarely misses an open teammate. Here’s some footage from a recent EYBL tournament that shows what he’s about:
“I just got a chance to see how they play and I think it’s so much of a guard system,” Smith Jr. told me when asked about his experience with Texas Tech. Traditionally in the Chris Beard Era, guards are the ones who play the best at Texas Tech. Smith Jr. shares a position with Texas Tech’s last two first round draft picks, Jarrett Culver and Zhaire Smith, along with soon-to-be first rounder Jahmi’us Ramsey. This didn’t go unnoticed by Smith Jr., “It means a lot because...they develop pros and that’s what I want to be.” Despite his hometown being over nine hours from Lubbock, this may not be an issue with his recruitment. Eli Gravitt, an Auburn insider with The Jboy Show, earlier reported that distance wasn’t a factor in his decision. Finding a coach and program that Smith Jr. trusts is the most important factor.
At just 16 years old, Smith Jr. is young and has plenty of time before he makes his college decision. He told me he’ll spend his final two years of high school ball getting faster, stronger, and bigger. He’s earned the amount of attention he’s received on the recruiting trail, but Smith Jr. still finds himself grateful. “I think it’s a great experience,” he told me, “Growing up I didn’t think I would have this opportunity...it’s very humbling and I’m blessed to be in the situation.”
Let’s hope Lubbock becomes his home.