As a freshman phenom Ramar Smith did not end his high school career as he would have liked. Now the 6-foot-1, 181-pound combo guard out of Martin Luther King High School in Detroit, Mich., has a chance to start over with a new coach with a program on the rise at Tennessee.
"Ramar had a great visit to Tennessee," said Smith's AAU coach Durand "Speedy" Walker of The Family. "He came back committed."
A spectacular athlete, Smith has developed his skills with the ball, but he has failed to live up to the hype he received as a dominant younger player. Tennessee's wide open 94-foot style of play is custom built to revitalize Smith's career.
"Ramar is an athlete who has totally underachieved at the high school level," said Walker. He was such a gifted and strong athlete at 14 years old that he lost track a little bit about how important it is to work. I think he was under the impression that some things were guaranteed to him.
"It has been very humbling for Ramar not to get the personal accolades at the end of his career that others are getting. He is not even considered the fifth best player in Michigan by some people. So everybody better watch out, because I think we all know how good Ramar can me when he brings his A game to the court. Sometimes a new player and a new coach can be a great fit."
Presently the No. 30 ranked prospect in the Rivals150, Smith averaged 24 points per game this season.
A former Connecticut commitment before his short stay at South Kent Prep, Smith is expected to academically qualify according to Walker.
With Tennessee's loss of point guard C.J. Watson and with no true point guard in the ranks, Smith will compete for immediate playing time at the point guard position. Although undersized, he also has the athleticism to play the small forward position in Coach Pearl's system.
Smith chose the Volunteers over Arkansas in a highly competitive two school race.
Ramar Smith scouting report:
Extremely athletic, Smith is explosive when attacking the rim and and is a very strong finisher. Has range on his jumper, but it is not very consistent. He has the motor and athleticism to be a very good 94-foot defender. His ability to distribute the ball and to be effective in the midrange have room for improvement.