Nick Smith Jr. ranked No. 1 overall in 247Sports’ latest Top 150 update

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The final Top247 rankings were released Wednesday for the Class of 2022 and the five-star guard from North Little Rock, Ark. and signatory Arkansas Nick Smith Jr. is the new #1 overall prospect in the nation.

As the headliner of a six-man class that ranks No. 2 in the nation and tops the SEC in the 247Sports team rankings — the best finish in program history — Smith was already the Arkansas’ highest-ranked signee in the modern rankings era prior to this morning’s update.

Now, as the best player in his class, his name can indeed be etched in the program’s history book when it comes to recruiting alongside the legendary Corliss Williamson, a fitting name to mention with Smith’s eyes. next season with the hope of winning a title at Arkansas, something that hasn’t been done since Williamson was roaming the paint in Fayetteville.

It’s been quite a climb for Smith, who sat just outside for more than six months before earning his fifth 247Sports star on June 30, 2021, making him the first Natural State prospect to do so. since Malik Monk in 2016 and Bobby Portis in 2013.

After sustaining the new hype despite a wrist injury with a memorable run to end the summer with Brad Beal Elite at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam, Smith cracked the top 10 of the leaderboard on September 15, straight after his visit official in Arkansas, and announced his commitment to Eric Musselman and the Razorbacks two weeks later.

Smith overcame a high-profile eligibility battle after being transferred from Sylvan Hills to North Little Rock just in time to hit the ground running and lead the Charging Wildcats to an Arkansas Class 6A State Championship. He was named a Naismith High School Player of the Year finalist, was a 6A All-State entertainer, and earned State Championship Game MVP honors.

Following the high school season, Smith cemented his No. 1 claim by appearing at the nation’s most high-profile post-season events, including the McDonald’s All-American Game, Nike Hoops Summit, and Jordan Brand Classic where he was named MVP after 27 4-point performances and 4 assists.

Additionally, Smith has generated a palpable buzz in the build-up to these events as a standout performer during practices in front of a slew of talent evaluators, most of whom project him to follow in the footsteps of fellow local talent Moses Moody. as the next program of the program. prospect made.

DraftExpress updated its 2023 NBA simulation draft last week, and draft experts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz predicted Smith would be the third overall pick. 247Sports also projects Smith as a future first-round pick with a player comparison to Denver’s Jamal Murray. Here is the most recent scouting report on Smith from recruiting analyst Travis Branham:

“Nick Smith is an aggressive, confident and dynamic combo guard with good height and long arms for the position. He is a functional athlete with downhill speed, body control and changes speed and direction fluidly with the ball in his hands.Offensively, he has an impressive combination as a playmaker and a goalscorer, with his playmaking ability unlocked by his aggressive and confident demeanor as a goalscorer.

“Smith is a legit three-tier goalscorer who creates his own shot, operates well off the ball screens, gets his places from mid-range and is a tough finisher around the edge who will punish the opposition if he has space in traffic.He is also a talented passer whose decision-making has improved during his high school years and projects himself as a prospect who can operate fluidly on or off the ball as he continues to mature as a ball handler His size, length, mentality and IQ make him a hard-hitting defender on and off the ball, making him a tough, productive and hard-hitting two-way player.

Just yesterday, Smith was one of 27 players across the country invited to the American U18 men’s training camp at the end of the month where he will have the opportunity to compete for one of 12 spots in the roster as Team USA seeks to win its 10th gold medal. in 12 tries at the FIBA ​​U18 Americas Championship 2022 in Tijuana, Mexico from June 6-12.

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