Three-Point Play: Arkansas, NYC PGs, Jaylon McDaniel
Eric Musselman is still pretty new to the job at Arkansas, but he is up to his old tricks when it comes to the transfer market. In today’s Three-Point-Play a look at the Razorbacks' latest transfer addition, Justin Smith. Also, three NYC point guards that may have flourished this summer and how a reclassification should jump start Jaylon McDaniel’s recruitment.
Starting Five: Kuminga's graduation, Cisse watch continues
2022 Rankings: Top 75
1. WHAT IS ARKANSAS GETTING IN JUSTIN SMITH?
Now prepping for his second year as the head coach at Arkansas, Eric Musselman is continuing to remake the Razorbacks' roster in his own image. Just as he did during a successful run at Nevada, Musselman is hitting the transfer market hard to go along with a recruiting class of high schoolers that ranks No. 9 in the class of 2020.
After adding Vance Jackson from New Mexico and Jalen Tate from Northern Kentucky, Arkansas has now added Indiana wing Justin Smith as a grad transfer. So, what can Smith bring to the table in Fayetteville?
A four-star prospect coming out out of high school, Smith is a high-end athlete who has really bulked up during three years in the Big Ten. Because of his athleticism and added strength, he’s capable of playing out on the wing or as a small ball four man. Smith averaged 10.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in over 30 minutes per game for Indiana last season.
Given the makeup of the SEC and the direction that Musselman seems to be taking the Hogs, I really like the idea of using Smith as a matchup problem combo forward who can play fast.
Smith is a good rebounder, defends well and can handle most switches. He’s not quite where you would like a true stretch four man to be as a jump shooter, but he could be a problem as a driver for more traditional power forwards.
Also, if Isaiah Joe elects to leave his name in the NBA Draft, Smith helps because he is another veteran presence in the locker room. Arkansas is going to have a lot of newcomers trying to learn to play together during the upcoming season
2. THREE NYC POINT GUARDS WOULD HAVE BENEFITED FROM SUMMER EVALUATION
As we continue to wait and see if there will be a full return of grassroots basketball this summer and whether or not the NCAA will establish live periods in the late summer or early fall, I continue to consider players that have been negatively impacted. The numbers are countless, but in New York City, there is a trio of rising senior point guards from the class of 2021 that are likely seeing some impact.
Don't get me wrong, Khalil Brantley, JaQuan Carlos and Malachi Smith all have attention. But, I know that I was sure looking forward to getting to know more about them and so were several coaches. Each has their own unique style, so here's a quick look.
Carlos was well known before he even hit the high school scene. He had a big reputation and entered high school playing with lots of flair in his game as both a scorer and passer. Perhaps the hype was a bit overdone and Carlos seemed to fade some from the national scene. Make no mistake, though, Carlos has been a scoring machine at Jefferson High in Brooklyn and he’s starting to make national noise again. On Monday, he picked up an offer from Wake Forest and more could be coming soon.
As for Brantley, he’s a tough and physical scorer. As a junior he led New York City in scoring and gets hot from deep while also using his strong frame to bounce off of defenders while driving to the rim. Though he’s developed a reputation for his scoring, Brantley can also be a playmaker and is versatile enough to play at the one or the two in college. Heading into his junior season, he held offers from Iona and Manhattan. Since February, though, Creighton, Georgetown, Oklahoma State and Seton Hall have all joined in.
Last but not least is Smith. The best playmaker for others of the trio, he’s the younger brother of former Dayton star and Rivals150 point guard Dayshon “Schoochie” Smith. He’s a crafty playmaker for others and a dynamic passer who sits just outside the current Rivals150. His vision, navigation of the pick and roll and ability to score when needed likely would have earned him many more admirers this summer. As it is, he’s not doing too bad with Dayton, Georgetown, Seton Hall and Washington State among the many who have offered scholarships.
3. MCDANIEL TO THE CLASS OF 2022
Headed into high school in the Kansas City area, Jaylon McDaniel was expected to be one of the city’s next high-major targets. After a promising start, he was hit by the injury bug over the last year or so after making a transfer to Bel Aire (Kans.) Sunrise Christian.
Now grown to 6-foot-7 and 205 pounds, McDaniel returned for the end of the season at Sunrise and showed off tremendous bounce around the basket and the ability to make plays off the glass and in transition. Recently, McDaniel -- who has been to Nebraska unofficially and heard from Louisville -- also decided to reclassify to 2022 so that he can get this coming season and a year of prep school under his belt before headed off to college.
With a seven-foot wingspan to go along with his athleticism and wiry strong build, McDaniel has all of the physical characteristics that you could look for in a modern day combo forward. He scores well on the block and more time to extend his perimeter game before college should be very beneficial.
During the summer, McDaniel runs with MoKan Elite and coach Reese Holliday believes coaches will love what they see from McDaniel.
“Selfless player whose motor always runs hot,” said Holliday of McDaniel. “Not going to find too many kids who are more coachable and locked in with a team-first mentality because he is a winner and that’s all that ever matters to him.”