Smith is coming off a strong showing at the NBA Draft Combine and was widely expected to be taken in the first round, Givony adds. The 6’4″ shooting guard is ranked as the 22nd best prospect on ESPN’s big board.
“I have to be honest and admit money has never been at the center of my thoughts,” Smith said in his announcement. “My agent explained to me that teams as high as the late teens, through the rest of the first round, all have me ranked as a first-round talent. It’s exciting to hear that. But I told him I have more work to do. I like school and my college in particular. Remember, my last two years have been so strange, thanks to the pandemic. I just want one more season to get everything right and just be a college student.”
Smith caught the attention of scouts with an outstanding performance in drills on the first day of the combine, Givony notes. He posted 17 points in a second-day scrimmage, then opted to sit out the final day.
The 19-year-old averaged 16.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a freshman in 2021/22, earning a spot on the ACC’s All-Rookie Team and becoming an honorable mention All-Conference selection. He led the ACC with 96 made three-pointers, the fourth-highest total for a freshman in conference history.
Smith indicated that he’s already looking forward to next year’s draft process and the possibility of being a lottery pick.
“If things go like I expect, I won’t have to go through the combine experience the same way,” he said. “Everyone will see my games and our team all season, we are going to make sure they are seeing something special. The NBA can wait one year, I have more work to do in the ACC first.”