Smart Talk

Roosevelt Smart has really showcased his offensive talents this spring and early part of the summer. Amidst a hectic AAU schedule, Smart's recruitment continues to roll on. Get the latest here.

Time and time again, Illinois Wolves shooting guard Roosevelt Smart has shown that he can really turn it on when his team needs him.

"I just have confidence in myself to make plays for my team," he said, "whether it's scoring or making a defensive play."

Smart is working on becoming a more complete player, but scoring is something that's always come naturally to him.

"I do (have a scorer's mentality)," Smart said. "That's why I'm out there is to score and play tough defense. When I'm on though, I'm on."

He knows he can't do it all on his own, and with so many guards on the Illinois Wolves 16U roster, Smart does what he can to fulfill his role.

"It's a team effort, but I do my part to help the team win," he said. "Whatever I need to do to help the team win, I'll go do that. If coach asks me to handle or something like that, I can do that."

The biggest improvement Smart made through the high school season and the spring wasn't something he could work on in a drill. The mental aspect of any sport is important, but in Smart's case, it allowed him to really raise the level of his game.

"It was more of a mental thing for me," he admitted. "I had the skills to do everything I need to do, it was more about believing in myself and having confidence."

Part of the mental block last year could have been the adjustment to being a leader for his high school team despite just being a sophomore.

It was good this year," he said. "We had a couple seniors that I looked up to and they gave me the confidence to play my game and lead the team." Smart, who has visited both Creighton and Xavier for team camps, also recently made it to Illinois for an open gym. He visited a while ago, but still found plenty to like this time around when he was shooting around.

Illinois was more like an open gym," he said. "I visited there last year on a normal visit, but this time I got to see the history when you walk in the facility and you see all of the NBA players they've had and all of the different players they've had come through there."

Smart really took notice to the intensity of the Illinois players in their pickup games. After playing against some of the guys, he thinks Illinois has the tools to reload again.

"It was great," he said. "Those guys play hard. They have a really good team. They have a couple starters coming back from last year and a few newcomers so I think they'll be really good this year."

And Coach Groce's uptempo offensive style was pretty appealing to Smart, who thrives on pushing the pace.

"He plays at a fast pace and likes to get up and down. That's my game," he said. "I like to play fast and it's a good system he has there."

As for the other visits, Smart got to challenge himself at both Creighton and Xavier against other good players.

Creighton was fun," he said. "I got a chance to play against some of the players and some of the other visitors. Xavier was a team camp too, so I just played against other high school teams."

In the meantime, with AAU summer season heating up, Smart doesn't have any other trips planned yet, but he'll likely be hitting the road again pretty soon.

"I have to plan some visits out still," he said. "I just need to open my schedule up. All the schools that I'm talking to like my game, I'm just waiting to see what they do."

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