ESPN 5-star and Arkansas basketball signee Nick Smith Jr. continued to add to his resume with an MVP performance at the Jordan Brand Classic on Friday with ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi courtside.
Smith had 27 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 7 of 13 from the field, 5 of 7 from beyond the three-point line and 8 of 8 from the free-throw line at the event in Chicago.
"He just comes with a mindset that it's all business and it's hard for kids to do that," said Biancardi, who was a part of the broadcasting team for the game. "He takes the game seriously and he's a serious player. Plus he's talented, he shoots the ball extremely well. He has great elevation on his jumper, but he never settles on jumpers, he looks to attack and probe. He's a dangerous facilitator because he demands so much attention. People try and stop him, but he's not a one-trick pony.
"He keeps doing the same thing at a high-level. Scores, defends and plays a team game and competes."
Smith, the two-time Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Boys Player of the Year, averaged 26.5 points, 8 rebounds and 7.3 assists to lead North Little Rock to a second consecutive Class 6A state title.
Biancardi was also courtside at the McDonald's All-American game on March 29 to see Smith, 5-star Razorback signee Jordan Walsh and 5-star Hog commitment Anthony Black.
Walsh was also selected to the Jordan Brand Classic but an ankle injury forced him to sit out.
Black, who's expected to sign with the Hogs on Wednesday during a 5 p.m. ceremony at his school, picked Arkansas over Gonzaga and numerous others.
"I talked to Anthony Black about going to Arkansas, he was 50-50," Biancardi said. "He was not sure which way to go, but he said getting to know and play with Nick Smith and seeing him play really kind of turned him on [to Arkansas]. He said Nick takes care of his business.
"So my point is he [Smith] attracts other guys that are like him. I think he was part of the equation for Anthony to go to Arkansas."
Biancardi said Smith and Black complement each other.
"They both know that, and they're both mature enough to understand they can help each other," Biancardi said. "Then you have Jordan Walsh in there, too."
ESPN rates Smith, 6-5, 185 pounds, the No. 6 prospect in the nation and the No. 3 shooting guard. Biancardi and ESPN will release updated rankings Wednesday.
"He showed me a lot at the McDonald's [game] and the practices and now here [Jordan Brand Classic]. The players are really attracted to him so We'll see where he ends up in the final ranking, but I can guarantee you one thing, he's not going to go down."
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Nick Smith Jr. highlights