Smith gives UA player with high ceiling
With the commitment of 6-foot-7, 185-pound Las Vegas small forward Ray Smith, Arizona has landed one of the top small forwards and prospects in the 2015 class. Smith first showed up on the major AAU scene last summer and everything about him screamed potential. Over the last year, as he's grown and gotten stronger, his stock and production have increased significantly. The improvement from Smith has almost been on a month to month basis for the last year, and he is still just scratching the surface of his significant potential. Smith has a terrific frame, length, size and athleticism for a player at his position and age. He plays hard, rebounds on both sides of the court, gets to the basket and finishes above the rim. As an athlete, Smith is high level both laterally and vertically. He has big time body control and can take one bounce from the perimeter and glide his way to the basket. At first Smith was much more slasher than shooter, but he's really improved his ability to hit the three off both the catch and pull, while he's getting better from midrange off the bounce. The form on Smith's jumper has improved over time, and with reps he should eventually be a consistent shooter. Over time, Smith has increasingly committed himself more defensively and has shown the ability to guard opposing wings on the perimeter while also going inside and using his athleticism to block shots. Smith has also become a very good passer; he didn't show that side of his game early, but now his vision is starting to really emerge. He's an unselfish player and makes his teammates better. Moving forward, Smith will have to keep getting stronger and improving his handle and shot, but given his steady improvement in those areas, there's every reason to think he's going to keep going in the right direction there. In the last week, Smith tore his ACL and while that will likely stall his development a little bit, ultimately it's an almost irrelevant injury with modern medicine and there's no reason it will put much of a dent in his status as a prospect. With Smith and Justin Simon in Arizona's 2015 class, the Wildcats have one of the most exciting duos in the country, and two guys who could make a lot of money playing basketball if it all comes together for them.
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