The recruitment is really heating up for five-star power forward Jalen Smith. Smith, who has long been one of the top prospects in his class, provides a good combination of size, athleticism, and skill on the court. Now he is trying to get more confident, and with that a lot of schools are making him a priority target.
"The schools recruiting me the hardest are Virginia, Maryland, Syracuse, Villanova, Miami, and Arizona," said Smith. "There are other schools I am hearing from, but I'm hearing the most from those schools.
Maryland was the childhood favorite for Smith and continues to be one of the top contenders. He visited Maryland for a game this year, and Smith continues to talk highly of the Terps.
"It is a great program," said Smith of Maryland. "I really like how Coach (Mark) Turgeon coaches and how he treats his players. He makes sure that they practice hard every day and also that they go to class. I really like how involved he gets with the players and their academics."
About Virginia, he said, "I like how Coach (Tony) Bennett coaches. He doesn't overreact and yell at his players because he knows mistakes will be made. He just pushes them to get better and focuses on defense which I like.
Another school that Smith has visited is Villanova. The Wildcats have had Smith on campus a few times, and he likes their style of play.
"They don’t play with a traditional big," said Smith of Villanova. "Instead they let their bigs handle the ball and play on the perimeter so I like that."
When it comes to Miami, he said, "I like how they play. They always play with tremendous effort, and I get along with the coaches as well."
Recently Syracuse stated that Head Coach Jim Boeheim will continue to coach for the foreseeable future, and that was welcome news for Smith.
About the Orange, he said, "At first I thought Coach Boeheim was going to leave so I was a bit iffy about them. Now I know he is going to coach long-term, so that is good."
He continued about Syracuse, "I like the way they play. Their 2-3 zone is deadly. Also on offense I like how they can get shots out of any set and play."
The school farthest away from Smith's home that is making him a priority is Arizona. Sean Miller and his staff have had national recruiting success, and Smith is interested in the program.
"I like Arizona a lot," said Smith. "They are an intense team that is defensive minded. Also I like how Coach Miller coaches. He is intense, but also is a player's coach."