The July evaluation period began with the No. 1 spot in the class of 2010 rankings up for grabs. Josh Smith, one of those contending prospects, staked a big claim for the top spot with his inspired play at the adidas It Takes 5IVE Classic.
Smith was stellar throughout the event, dominating around the basket with his scoring, rebounding and shot blocking ability. And in a statement match up against 2009 elite post prospect Derrick Favors, Smith scored 25 points and grabbed ten rebounds.
Smith's strong play for the Seattle Rotary basketball club even amazed himself.
"I thought I played pretty well in Cincinnati," said Smith, a 6-foot-10, 270-pound center from Covington (Wash.) Kentwood High School. "A lot of people and coaches have been complimenting me on my play. I'm just trying to take it in stride.
"I always knew I could play, but the way I've been playing the last month and a half, I'm like 'wow'. I'd been floating around top five in the country or whatever, and I really wanted to prove that I deserved to be up there. I didn't want there to be any excuses about why I didn't play well one weekend at a tournament."
According to Smith, going into the July evaluation period he had offers from the whole Pac-10, Louisville, Texas and Gonzaga with strong interest from Tennessee, Georgetown and Syracuse. After his strong showing in Cincinnati, he now has an offer from Duke and is getting strong interest from North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas and Indiana.
Far from even having a formulated school list, Smith, who is expected to grow two to three more inches, is solely focused on developing his game right now. And the items that are typically of importance to prospects when choosing a school might not play much of a factor in Smith's decision.
"I'm trying to work on my game, so I can fit into any style of play," said Smith. "And location is not a factor right now. That could change and I want to stay close to home or even get a way form home, but right now I'm open to anything. The type of coach doesn't really matter to me either. I've played for a lot of different coaches, so whether the coach is a yeller or laid back or more of a teacher, I feel I can play for him.
"My dad always said that it will be me living and going to school and not anyone else, so I need to choose a school where I can see myself having fun while getting an education and playing ball. My English teacher also gave me some good advice. He said that a school would basically be giving me 200,000 dollars to go to school. So I might as well take advantage of the opportunity and not just prosper in basketball but also get a great education."
Smith, who is currently the No. 4 ranked prospect in the class of 2010, will play in the adidas Super 64 event in Las Vegas next week.
Josh Smith scouting report:
Blessed with superb hands and a soft shooting touch, Smith gobbles up rebounds and scores efficiently around the basket. Quick off the floor for his size, Smith is also a tremendous shot blocker and positional defender. He is also a dangerous passer with his overall strong feel for the game. Shaping up to be the dominant low post player in his class.