Super 60 Takeout: Junior Smith

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — No one, and I mean no one, improved his status within North Carolina more this season than Smith.

There's a growing sense that Junior Smith has been overlooked. Despite ranking No. 26 overall in the Class of 2016, the general perspective is that he's far more likely to rise than fall.

That perception stands on solid footing. Smith was spectacular at times this past season at Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity Christian, even when squaring off against such stars as top-10 sophomore floor general Seventh Woods or top-10 senior Justin Jackson. For Smith, his attitude has become one of easy, cold dominance, and he'll take a great deal of positive momentum with him into the travel circuit.

To be sure, he's capable of playing better than he did at this weekend's Super Sixty. He was one of the most effective players in attendance, yet still, there's that perception again that he's set to truly explode very soon.

Smith's game appears effortless to him, and he possesses such exquisite natural gifts that he must avoid succumbing to the temptation of coasting. He didn't go full tilt at all times yesterday, a very common approach for immensely talented young players.

But still, he turned it on during a few stretches that cemented his blue-chip status. He seemingly gets more explosive all the time, planting off two feet and fearlessly trying (sometimes succeeding) to dunk on big men. He also is a confident, if inconsistent medium-range jump shooter who down the line will need to smooth out the hitch in his shot. But the fact is that he can create his own shot and knocks them down at a respectable percentage.

Smith's quickness is top-shelf and he changes directions very well on the move. He's a gifted passer as well, though naturally his decision-making must improve before he's ready to seize the playmaking reigns at a major college program.

His recruitment lags his talent, something that Smith will attempt to address in the coming months. N.C. State and VCU are prominent, but typically a well-exposed player from this area will draw a larger number of offers. Suffice it to say, based on talent Smith can play for any program in the country.


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