Arkansas Basketball freshman Nick Smith, Jr. has been absolutely decorated with preseason accolades by Chris Dortch’s Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. The publication tabbed Smith for National Newcomer of the Year, Fourth Team All-American, and All-SEC.
It’s the next in an already growing list of accomplishments for the 6’5″ freshman who played high school basketball for the North Little Rock Wildcats. In August, Smith, Jr. was named the National High School Basketball Player of the Year by USA Today for the 2021-2022 season.
Arkansas Basketball newcomer Nick Smith, Jr. is already piling up awards.
He also played for the 2022 Nike Hoop Summit Team. Smith had 10 points, three rebounds, and one assist in only 18 minutes of action against elite global competition. The blemish during those limited minutes were four turnovers and only 20% shooting from three-point range.
Still, many believe Arkansas Basketball head coach Eric Musselman has found an absolute gem of a prospect. According to Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, Smith should be Arkansas Basketball’s “best 3-point shooter” and a player who “can create shots for himself with drives to the basket for jumpers and finishing at the rim.”
It’s also not just folks at the college ranks who have their eyes on what Smith could become. NBA Scouts are high on him as a prospect as well. For example, The Athletic’s early 2023 mock draft, written by Sam Vecenie, projects him to go fourth overall to the Houston Rockets. Vecenie notes that while Arkansas Basketball has a lot of young talent, and Musselman must be mindful of how he allocates minutes, Smith should be “the straw stirring the drink.”
NBADraft.net’s consensus mock draft also has Smith as the fourth overall prospect. Arkansas Basketball could see several more one-and-done’s this year after Musselman’s epic recruiting haul.
For all those reasons, not just Smith alone, Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook has Arkansas Basketball ranked number six in the country in their preseason rankings.