Seven-Footer Pleased With First Trip to AU

Basketball prospect Derrik Smits talks about his visit to check out the Auburn Tigers in this report that includes video from his AAU season.

Zionsville, Ind.--With a change in coaching staff and Chuck Person on board as one of Bruce Pearl's assistant coaches, the Auburn Tigers are now in the mix with the son of one of Person's former NBA teammates.

Derrik Smits, a seven-foot rising senior at Zionsville High School, took an unofficial visit to Auburn along with his father, Rik Smits, who played in the NBA from 1988-2000.

"I really enjoyed it," Derrik Smits said of his first trip to Auburn, noting that the Tigers are now a college under consideration. "I am planning to come back. We want to go to a football game early in the year and see how the fans are."

Rated a three-star center by, Smits averaged 10.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.5 assists as a junior. However, it is the prospect's potential to get bigger and stronger that is attracting attention from college coaches as well as his all-around game with his combination of size, shooting range and passing skills.

Asked what colleges he is considering, Smits said, "Clemson, Gonzaga, Xavier, Auburn and probably Purdue--I am going to visit them (Purdue) in a couple of weeks."

The center, who flew to Atlanta on Friday with his father and stepmother, toured the campus on Saturday.

"I had a lot of good things to see," he said. "I really liked the campus and the whole feel about it. The rec center was amazing. It was one of a kind.

"I really like the basketball facility. It is nice and is well put together. The locker rooms are really good. It has some unique stuff that you don't normally see. The dorms feel homey."

Smits, who is just 17 years old heading into his senior year of high school, is probably not fully grown. His father is seven-foot-four. "I think I will get a little taller and fill out more," he said, noting that his weight fluctuates in the 220-230 range.

He doesn't have an offer yet from the Tigers, but said he won't be surprised if one is coming from Auburn after he gets a chance to talk with head coach Bruce Pearl, who has to wait until August 24th to resume recruiting duties because of his NCAA show-cause penalties he was given in his previous job while at Tennessee.

Smits is shown at an AAU event.

Person is his primary recruiter, someone the elder Smits knows well. "He loved to play with him," the prospect said. "I like him. He is a really great guy and he is fun to be around. I enjoyed talking to him on the visit."

Smit said having Person as a college coach would be a positive in his eyes. Rik Smits was an NBA All-Star who was known as an excellent passer and a good outside shooter like Person.

"We have a similar game," Derrik Smits said about his dad, who was known as the "Dunkin' Dutchman" because he was from The Netherlands. "I have been around basketball my whole life and he wasn't. He didn't play basketball until he was 14. He says I have better range, but I don't know. I think he is just saying that."

Smits added he is glad he made the visit to Auburn with his father. "I really enjoyed it. It was a fun trip. I like them more than I did. I didn't know a lot about them until I came on the trip."

2014 Derrik Smits AAU Video

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