College preference not distant off for Illinois Mr. Basketball Mark Smith …
April 18, 2017 - Basketballs
The subsequent few days will expected confirm a march of a subsequent few years in a basketball career of Mark Smith, who has emerged in new weeks as one of a many desired recruits remaining in a category of 2017.
Smith — a 6-foot-5 ensure from Edwardsville, Ill. — was in Kentucky for final week’s Derby Festival Classic during Freedom Hall, and he’ll lapse to a state, expected after this week, for a recruiting revisit to UK, one of a unaccepted finalists in his recruitment.
Smith was wavering to name any favorites during his discussions with reporters over a weekend, though UK, Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State were names that kept popping adult in those interviews.
Coach John Calipari visited Smith and his family a integrate of weeks ago — on a initial day of a live recruiting duration — and offering a UK grant during that meeting.
Calipari also told Smith how he competence fit in with a group that is already set to underline five-star guards Quade Green and Hamidou Diallo, as good as four-star guards Jemarl Baker and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
“He showed me videos of Jamal Murray — how he can mark adult fire and play off a round and run off screens. Hit opens shots,” Smith said.
He combined that UK and Michigan State see him as some-more of a combo guard, while Illinois and Ohio State perspective him as particularly a indicate guard.
“I feel like I’m improved with a round in my hands as a indicate guard, though we can play either/or,” he said.
Most of a questions thrown his approach this past week were about a Wildcats.
The UK fans in assemblage during Saturday night’s Derby Classic cheered when Smith was introduced. Before a game, he joked around on a justice with Gilgeous-Alexander, his roommate for a event. “We became good friends,” Smith said.
Gilgeous-Alexander, the Derby Classic MVP, concurred that he gave his new crony a UK recruiting representation or dual during their time together. “He’s a cold guy. He’s got a lot of talent and a good future. And hopefully he comes (to UK),” he said.
Smith, who had 7 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in a all-star game, also held a ESPN “30 for 30” on Calipari, a film that premiered Thursday night. “It was a good documentary. we enjoyed examination it,” he said, observant that a UK manager had already told him his behind story, so he didn’t unequivocally learn anything new.
Smith has also been spending time with Hall of Fame manager Tom Izzo.
He pronounced he’s been communicating with Izzo each day given Michigan State extended a grant offer a few weeks ago. He took an central revisit to East Lansing a integrate of weekends ago.
Smith pronounced destiny NBA lottery collect Miles Bridges told him on that outing that he was entrance behind to play with a Spartans subsequent season.
“We could be a Final Four group — have a possibility to win a inhabitant championship if we was to come there,” Smith pronounced of Sparty’s pitch. “They feel like they can rise me into an NBA player.”
Illinois is a home-state propagandize that was recruiting Smith good before new conduct manager Brad Underwood took over a Illini module final month. On his initial day on a job, Underwood placed a call to a state’s reigning Mr. Basketball, a initial step in his query to keep Smith tighten to home for a subsequent few seasons.
“I like Coach Underwood,” Smith said. “I feel like he’s going to do good things there. They pronounced we would have a round in my hands a lot and be means to make plays. And they’re bringing in good players.
“He talked to me about how we could fit in to his program. (He said) they’d adore for me to be a partial of Illinois basketball and try to change it and make history.”
Smith pronounced he competence take another unaccepted revisit to Illinois before creation his college decision, an proclamation that could come as early as subsequent week. He’s also formulation to revisit UK and Ohio State over a subsequent few days.
The Wildcats are looking for one some-more ensure to join their immature backcourt for subsequent season. Smith averaged 21.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.4 assists as a senior, sharpened 40 percent from three-point range.
He wants to get on a justice right divided subsequent season.
“I know I’m going to get a good preparation wherever we go,” Smith said. “But only carrying an impact as a beginner and building into a best basketball actor we can, so we can hopefully grasp my dreams. Go to a NBA.”