BREAKING: Hogs land in-state 5-star Nick Smith Jr.
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After courting many suitors, North Little Rock’s Nick Smith Jr. has chosen to stay home and play at Arkansas.
The Class of 2022 point guard announced his commitment to the Razorbacks on Wednesday, turning down offers from the likes of Kentucky, North Carolina, Memphis, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Baylor, Alabama and others.
He is the first five-star recruit Eric Musselman has landed as the head coach at Arkansas and the first to choose the Razorbacks since Bobby Portis in the 2013 class.
A native of Little Rock, Smith released a final four list that included Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn and UAPB, plus briefly considered professional options, but ultimately chose the Razorbacks.
At 6-foot-5, Smith possess the versatile size and skillset needed in Musselman’s system. His game should immediately translate to the collegiate level and, without looking too far ahead, he could potentially follow in Moses Moody’s footsteps as the second one-and-done player in UA history.
He recently jumped 23 spots in the Rivals rankings after an impressive showing over the summer for Brad Beal Elite – the same AAU program Moody played for. Over his final eight games at Peach Jam, Smith averaged 18.6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. He shot 54.4% from the field, 40.5% from behind the arc and 74.1% at the free throw line.
In high school ball, he was one of the top players in the state while playing at Sylvan Hills the last two years. As a sophomore, he averaged 21.3 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals on his way to being named the All-Arkansas Preps Underclassman of the Year by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Last season, Smith put up even better numbers - 25 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game - and was named the All-Arkansas Preps Player of the Year while helping the Bears reach the semifinals of the Class 5A state tournament.
Smith will play his final season of high school basketball at North Little Rock, announcing his transfer this summer. He’ll team up with fellow five-star prospect and Oregon commit Kel’el Ware to play in the state’s highest classification.
From the day Musselman took the Arkansas job, his emphasis was on establishing the Razorbacks’ national brand while also locking down top in-state talent. Smith’s commitment helps on both fronts.
Not only is he the No. 16 overall player in the country, according to Rivals, but he continues Musselman’s trend of securing high-quality prospects. All eight of the traditional recruits who’ve signed or committed in his three classes have been part of the Rivals150. That equals the number Arkansas landed in its previous six classes combined.
On the home front, Smith’s addition gives Arkansas’ 2022 recruiting class three of the top four prospects from the state. He joins Morrilton’s Joseph Pinion and Magnolia’s Derrian Ford. Including the 2020 class, when he went 4 for 5, Musselman has now landed seven of the nine in-state Rivals150 prospects since being hired.
Smith greatly bolsters the 2022 recruiting class and should have it ranked top-five nationally, but all indications are that the staff is still wanting to add another player to the class.