Top target committed: North Little Rock guard Nick Smith picks Hogs
Eric Musselman has, once again, showed the fence around Arkansas high school basketball talent is getting taller with commitment.
Eric Musselman has, once again, showed the fence around Arkansas high school basketball talent is getting taller.
Now he’s landed the highest-rated prospect in 29 years from the state.
Coveted Top 10 recruit Nick Smith from North Little Rock made his announcement Wednesday night and chose to stay in Arkansas.
let’s work pic.twitter.com/i9YeDAg177
— Nick Smith Jr (@ntsmith1402) September 30, 2021
“My dad and mom, it was a no-brainer for them,” Smith told SI All-American. “I just wanted to make sure, but Arkansas was the best opportunity for me.”
Smith, who is a consensus Top 10 prospect, is the top-rated player in Arkansas and joins another elite class for Musselman that is keeping the best players at home.
He had been considered a strong lean to Alabama by recruiting services, but after an official visit to Fayetteville (after an unofficial visit in 2019), things changed quickly.
“I’ve been talking to Coach Muss, and he’s always told me that he wants to put the ball in my hands from day one,” Smith said to SI All-American. “They want me to come down there and be me. They want me to be a leader and they want me to score. Like I said, it was the perfect opportunity for me in the end.”
The other commitments for the 2022 class include Derrian Ford (6-5 guard) from Magnolia, a composite national No. 52 4-star); Barry Dunning (6-6 small forward) from McGill-Toolen in Ala., 4-star); and Joseph Pinion (6-6 wing from Morrilton 4-star).
All of them in the class are Top 100 players nationally.
It is the second time in three years Musselman has landed four Top 100 in a recruiting class.
Two years ago he got Moses Moody, Davonte Davis, Jaylin Williams and KK Robinson. Moody, of course, left for the NBA after one season but the other three are key players for a Hogs’ team that is highly-regarded nationally as practice officially started Tuesday.
It didn’t long for the Razorbacks’ social media to react to the news.
— Arkansas Basketball Recruiting (@RazorbackMBBRec) September 30, 2021
Smith had considered professional opportunities with the new Overtime Elite (reportedly close to $1 million) and an Australian basketball league.
— Danyelle Musselman (@DanyelleSargent) September 30, 2021
The Hogs open the 2021-22 season Nov. 9 against Mercer at Bud Walton Arena.