When you talk Illini basketball with Lenzelle Smith Jr. it's usually all smiles of joy. Smith is a 6'4" combo guard from Zion-Benton, whose recent play has garnered the attention of the Illini staff, and done so in a hurry.
Smith's an athletic player that can shoot and defend extremely well and has a great vertical leap, something all of Weber's incoming recruits appear to have. Looking at this year's Final Four teams, there's something very noticeable about all of them: their pure athleticism, ability to defend, and create their own shot. While it may not be fair to the incoming recruits to expect such an immediate return to the biggest stage, but what I see is the making of a team that looks a lot like this year's Memphis Tigers team. And Smith would be a perfect match for this type of Illini team in the making.
When asked about his visit, Smith said, "I loved the school and the campus. It was really nice down there. I was just glad to know they are this interested in me, I had a pretty good year and I guess that helped." Smith like the visit so much there's plans for another one, "Oh yes, most definitely, I'm going back for another visit. I really liked it. It is Illinois after all," said Smith.
Weber broke Smith in early by allowing him to play with the team on his visit. "It was nice because I got to play with the guys in a couple scrimmage games. My brother, well someone who's like a brother to me Jereme Richmond [Illinois recruit], was with me. We had a great time. I guarded Demetri McCamey and Jeff Jordan most of the time. I did pretty good and held my own," said Smith.
Smith told us that he wasn't exactly sure if Weber put an offer on the table, because his father Lenzelle Smith Sr. was dealing with that matter for him, but both really liked what is taking place in Champaign right now. His list of schools, in no particular order are: Illinois, Marquette, Ohio State and USC.
We'll keep you informed here at InsideIllini.com about Smith's recruitment and will catch up with him again when he makes his other unofficial visits to Champaign. Also keep an eye on InsideIllini.com for updates on Smith's summer-ball action, along with updates on all the other Illini verbals and targets.