FAYETTEVILLE- Razorback signee Nick Smith Jr. has been elevated to the No. 1 prospect for the Class of 2022, 247Sports.com reported today.
Smith was invited to join future Razorbacks and fellow five-stars Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh at the 2022 FIBA Americas Championship USA Basketball U18 National Team training camp May 26-June 2 in Houston. A total of 27 athletes will compete for one of 12 spots on the USA Basketball U18 National Team that will compete at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship 2022 in Tijuana, Mexico from June 6-12. Arkansas is the only school to have up to three on the list of expected attendees. Earlier this spring, Smith and Black were members of USA Basketball’s 2022 Team USA Nike Hoop Summit, which defeated Team World, 102-80.
247Sports Top150 officially released their final update for the Class of 2022 on May 11. Travis Braham of 247Sports said, “(Eric) Musselman and his team not only got their best recruiting class in school history, but also their highest-ranked recruit in the modern era of recruiting services. online to Nick Smith Jr. – the nation’s new No. 1 overall player. You have no choice but to take notice because the Razorback fanbase is going to be one of the – if not the loudest – fanbases in the country for the next 10 months”
Smith’s stock jumped from No. 5 to No. 1 by 247Sports thanks to his play for Team USA as well as his outstanding performances during the weeks of the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic. Smith joins Corliss Williamson as the highest-rated player ever signed by Arkansas. Williamson was the 1992 Gatorade National Player of the Year and was either the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect in the nation by scouting services.
“Smith was the top performer in McDonald’s All American Games practices, a telling feat for what is widely considered to be the most competitive practices of the year,” Jason Jordan of Sports Illustrated said.
After being named MVP at the Jordan Classic, ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi said, “He showed me a lot at McDonald’s and then at the Classic. He just comes with a mindset that it’s all business and it’s hard for kids to do that. He takes the game seriously and he’s a serious player.
In addition to Smith climbing to No. 1, Black remained as the No. 14 prospect by 247Sports but jumped five places to No. 17 in the 247 Composite rankings, while Walsh moved up a spot to No. 18 by 247. Composite and at No. 19 by 247Sports.
Currently, Smith is listed as the best college player (third overall) in the 2023 NBA Draft according to ESPN.com and NBADraftRoom.com. Black is listed as the fifth overall pick and Walsh the 11th overall pick by NBADraftRoom while ESPN has Walsh and Black as the 16th and 17th overall pick, respectively.
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