``We feel that's where he needs to play if he's going to make it to the NBA," Southeast Elite first-year coach Jay Couch said. "People will get a chance to see a different Tyler and I think he can make the adjustment without much of a problem."
Smith will have a pair of big targets down low in Laurinburg Charter's 6-10, 235-pound Hatila De Souza, who is expected to play pro ball in Spain, and 6-10, 300-pound Renato Souza.
The real hidden gem on the team may be 6-7 junior Pepe Diaw, the younger brother of Atlanta Hawks first-round pick Boris Diaw.
``He can guard people 94 feet," added Couch. "He sees the court better than most players and is super long and athletic. He attacks the basket and has a pretty good mid-range game. He's definitely a high-major type player."
The final starting spot will likely go to Bob Jones High (Ala.) 6-1 freshman guard Keegan Bell, who will be able to help Smith out with the ball-handling duties if needed. Bell is a Kirk Hinrich-type of player who shoots it well and also makes good decisions.
The bench is full of guys who haven't really received a whole lot of national exposure. Dusty Moore is a 6-8 junior forward who is probably the team's top shooter while 6-2 junior Vincent Clark gives the team athleticism – as does 6-7 junior Shannon Coffey. Junior swingman Darius Burt will also give the team a spark off the bench.
This team could even get better if Samba Gueye, a 6-9 forward from Senegal who has already committed to USC, is added to the mix as Komara feels could happen in June. Another name to watch is 6-11, 240-pound Ghana native Munero Allesyne, an eighth-grader at Madison Academy in Huntsville.
``We may not have a lot of marquee guys that people have heard about like we did last year with Mike Williams," Smith said. "But we have a pretty good squad and I think we'll surprise a lot of people."
Southeast Elite (Huntsville, Ala.)
Coaches: Mark Komara, Jay Couch, Billy Smith
Top Prospects: WF Tyler Smith (6-7, 200, JR)
Projected Starters: BF Hatila De Souza (6-10, 235, SR*); C Renato Souza (6-10, 300, SR*); WG-WF Pepe Diaw (6-7, JR); PG Keegan Bell (6-1, FR)
Others: G Cash Givens (6-3, SR*); WF Dusty Moore (6-8, JR); WG-WF Darius Burt (6-4, 185, JR); WG Vincent Clark (6-2, JR); F Shannon Coffey (6-7, JR); Tyler Jennings (6-10, 255, JR)
Opening Tourney: Kingwood Classic (Texas) – April 16-18
Famous Alum: Marvin Stone; Rod Grizzard