When five-star small forward Ray Smith went bonkers this past weekend at the Pangos All-American Camp, showing off his explosive leaping, fearlessness and – above all – confidence, it was far from unexpected, especially for California, which recently made the 6-foot-7 wing's top 10. What worked so well for Smith?
"Everything," he said. "My whole thing was to just attack. I look at my defender, say he can't guard me, and figure out what I want to do. If I want to take it to the basket or do I want to pull up […] the pull-up was working well – the 15-footer. I worked with the 15-footer, I got to the rack, ran the floor. I'd say it was a really, really good camp."
Why did the Bears make Smith's top 10? In a word: Yanni -- and, no, not the master of the pan flute; assistant coach Yanni Hufnagel.
"I usually talk to Yanni. I talk to Yanni a lot. He's a really cool dude," Smith said. "Sometimes, we really don't even talk about recruitment; we just sit and joke around for an hour, 45 minutes or something. He's a really, really cool guy."
Hufnagel and Smith go back to the new assistant coach's time at Vanderbilt, where he had already started recruiting the No. 22 overall player in the 2015 class.
"Yanni was at Vanderbilt, and we always talked, and he said, ‘I know you don't want to come out here,' and all that stuff, and I said, ‘Yeah, man, I don't know, maybe,' but he told me, ‘Man, if I get the chance to come out there, I'm going to recruit you the hardest,' and, sure enough, he's on the West Coast, and he comes at me pretty hard. He's a cool guy," Smith said.
Smith has spoken with head coach Cuonzo Martin, as well, and is buying what the new Cal skipper is selling.
"He told me a little bit more about their plan and what Cal is trying to do," Smith said. "They want to run, of course, and they want to set low screens, high screens, flare screens, ball screens – they want to run a bit of a motion thing, and that's something I could see myself in, the ball-fake, one-dribble, off the screen, I can read the pick and roll, so that works really well."
While the Bears are up against stiff competition for Smith – Arizona, Wake Forest, Louisville, Georgetown, UCLA, USC, Arizona State, Oregon and Texas – they have made progress, though the topic of a visit hasn't quite been broached – yet.
"We haven't talked about that yet, but that's definitely something I want to do," Smith said. "I mean, why not?"
Five-Star Talks Pangos, Cal
BearTerritory.net Top Stories
Tim O'Toole Will Stay at CalNew Cal head basketball coach Wyking Jones will retain assistant Tim O'Toole.
Beyond the Commitment: J.H. TevisJ.H. Tevis has gone from one side of the ball to the other, and from one side of the globe to the other to finally land at Cal
BearTerritory.netYesterday at 3:32 PM
FILM: Davis Webb's Pro DayBERKELEY -- Cal quarterback Davis Webb powered through driving rain to complete an 80-throw Pro Day workout on Friday.
BearTerritory.netYesterday at 7:13 AM
J.H. Tevis Commits to CalAtherton (Calif.) Menlo School defensive end J.H. Tevis has committed to Cal.
BearTerritory.netFriday at 4:49 PM
Bear Republic Podcast: Pro Day, Hoops HireBERKELEY -- Big 40 times were the news of the day at Cal's Pro Day in the pouring rain, as we break down a long and winding journey for longsnapper Bradley Northnagel.
BearTerritory.netFriday at 10:46 AM