Smith Comes Up Big Late For Wings

Arkansas Wings center Mitchell Smith (6-10, 215), who has the Razorbacks among his offers, comes up with several key plays in the second half as he helps rally his team to a big win Friday night in the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. - Van Buren’s Mitchell Smith has not had the spectacular spring and summer that he wanted to, but he did step up big Friday night when his Arkansas Wings AAU team needed him the most.

Smith (6-10, 215) had 9 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks and helped rally the Wings from a 10-point deficit to a 68-61 pool win over Mac Irvin Fire at the Nike Peach Jam.

The Arkansas recruiting target had several key blocks, points and caroms as the Wings got off the deck after blowing an 8-point lead late and losing to Team Final 62-59 on Friday morning.

“We were real disappointed in how we played this morning and if we wanted to be in the championship (bracket) we were going to have to come out hard,” Smith said. “We also owed them one because during the (EYBL) season they took one from us.

“I think we brought a lot of energy and we all just fed off of each other.”

Smith has offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Creighton, Tulsa.

“Hopefully after that game, I will have a few more,” Smith said. “I know that I am going to take my five official visits this fall and go from there, but really I am just enjoying all the coaches calling right now.”

Smith knew his team needed him to play well on Friday night and he dominated the boards after halftime with seven of his eight boards and all four of his blocks.

The win means that a victory over CP3 on Saturday at noon EDT will clinch the Wings (3-1 in pool play) a spot in the championship bracket.

“I just thought that I had to be more aggressive, much more than I was the last game, so when I saw a ball go up I was going to go after it,” Smith said.

Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson and assistant Melvin Watkins have been on hand to see the Wings play all four games so far.

“I really like Arkansas and me and Coach Anderson talk a lot,” Smith said. “I talked to him about how they play and he thinks I would really fit in his system.”

Smith has averaged just 4 points and 4.1 rebounds this spring and summer and those were not the numbers he expected.

“It’s tough to get points on this team, but I understand what my role is on this team is and that is just going out and getting rebounds, defense, blocking shots,” Smith said. “But when I need to score, I can score.”

Smith averaged 18 points and 13 rebounds last season for Van Buren, whose season ended in a loss to Monk’s Bentonville squad in the Class 7A State tournament.

“It is intense playing alongside Malik because he brings it every game,” Smith said. “He is our leader and we just go out and follow his lead and all play our role.”

Mitchell Smith

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