With apologies to '70s supergroup Earth, Wind and Fire, Van Buren's Mitchell Smith won't have any trouble about all remembering when it was September.
That's because Arkansas, Mississippi State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Creighton all came through to watch the 6-10, 200-pound junior workout and evaluate just how much he has come along this summer.
Smith, whose only offers so far are from Arkansas-Fort Smith and Ouachita Baptist, thinks the Razorbacks and a couple of others are close to offering.
“I think Arkansas is pretty close to offering and Creighton and Mississippi State,” Smith said. “I would really treasure getting one from Arkansas. Arkansas is becoming a very competitive program and is really coming on right now. An offer from them would be crazy and would be great.”
Smith, who is supposed to take an unofficial visit to Arkansas for the Arkansas-Alabama football ghame on Oct. 11, doesn't try to hide the fact that he was excited when he saw Razorback coaches in Van Buren to see him earlier this month.
“It was big to know that they were truly interested,” Smith said. “That's going to make me look more at them because they are reaching out to me more. It means that all the hard work is going to give me a chance to possibly play up there one day.”
Smith averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season for the Pointers and had a 23-point, 14-rebound performance in the Class 7A state tournament in his game of the season.
He followed that up with a solid performance this spring and summer as he and Fayetteville junior guard Payton Willis helped lead the Arkansas Wings to both the Nike Peach Jam and AAU 16-and-under national championships.
“I felt like I got more confident, especially with my play in the post,” Smith said. “I also got confidence in stepping out and being able to face up and knock down shots. I think this year if there are guys who can't stay with me, I can just bring it out and knock down a shot or just go past them.”
Smith, whose dad played soccer at Georgia Tech, moved from Macon, Ga., in 2007 and is pleased how much attention he got from the Razorback staff this past summer.
“They have definitely been showing me a lot of love – and not just me, but they are talking to my family and telling me how much they think of me as a player,” Smith said. “It's been exciting and makes me want to just keep working harder to get better. It would be great to play at Arkansas. That's certainly what I want to do at this point.”
He will be teaming with Bentonville junior star Malik Monk next spring and summer on the Wings' 17-and-under AAU team.
“I will be playing with the 17s next season,” Smith said. “I think I got a lot better playing on this level (16) this season and I think I will be ready to make an impact on the next level next season.”
Smith Has September To Remember
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