Arkansas guard Anthony Black didn’t have to wait long to hear his name called in the NBA Draft on Thursday night in New York, but Nick Smith had to wait awhile and barely slipped into the first round.
It was a different outcome than anyone predicted last summer with Black going No. 6 overall to the Orlando Magic while Smith had to wait until the 27th pick to be picked by the Charlotte Hornets.
Jordan Walsh was picked No. 38 overall, in the second round, by the Sacramento Kings, making it the third freshman picked in the draft.
Black’s NBA.com Draft Profile
Black was a five-star recruit in the high school class of 2022 who played his lone collegiate season at Arkansas. Starring alongside fellow highly touted freshmen Nick Smith and Jordan Walsh, Black started all 36 of his appearances and averaged 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.1 steals and 0.6 blocks in 34.9 minutes per game. The Texas native shot 45.3% from the field, 30.1% from deep and 70.5% from the free-throw line. Prior to arriving at Arkansas, Black spent time at Coppell High School in Duncanville, Texas before transferring to Duncanville High School for his senior season. Earlier in his high school career, Black was not considered an elite prospect, but he closed his senior season as a consensus top 20 player in his class.
Smith’s NBA.com Draft Profile
Smith spent his lone collegiate season at Arkansas, where he appeared in 17 games (14 starts) and helped lead the Razorbacks to the Sweet 16. A knee injury plagued Smith throughout his freshman season, causing him to miss 19 games in total, including the entire month of January. In his first collegiate start on Dec. 3 against San Jose State, Smith posted 16 points and five assists in just 24 minutes of action. Later in the season, he went for a season-high 26 points in a win over Georgia, knocking down five 3-pointers. In the Razorbacks’ regular-season finale, Smith poured in 25 points to go with six assists and four steals against Kentucky. Coming out of high school, Smith was widely considered one of the top recruits in the nation. The Jacksonville, AR native was a consensus five-star recruit and was selected to both the Jordan Brand Classic and the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Both were part of the Razorbacks’ highly-recruited freshman class for 2022-23, but struggled with a knee injury that caused him to miss over a month of the regular season and never played up to his preseason analysis and projections.
On the other hand, Black turned out to be a player that developed as his high school career continued, transferring to Duncanville for his final year and showing a poise and maturity in his game that continued to develop over the course of a freshman campaign. He’s also 6-foot-7 and a ball-handler. Getting taller is something no coach has control over and he’s turned out to be a player that could be in the beginning stages of development.
Smith apparently had a lot of questions from teams, but we don’t know exactly what they were. They probably wanted to know more about the rehab from a knee injury that forced him out for over a month, spending a lot of that time in Los Angeles.