Smith Focuses on Individual Game

Instead of playing with Ray Brown and the prolific Team Minnesota AAU squad this spring, one of the top players from the state is instead working on his individual game in anticipation of a big all-star camp in July. Any improvements to Brandon Smith's game are welcome, but the 6-foot-5, 195-pounder is still attracting big-time attention from college coaches.

"Right now he's just working out preparing for the ABCD Camp," said Smith's high school coach Larry McKenzie. "He's working with a personal trainer and not playing with anybody, in terms of AAU. He was playing with Team Minnesota, but he really wanted to work on some of his weaknesses. He's got a trainer and coach that's working with him on his shooting and ball handling."

The ABCD Camp is set to begin on July 7th.

A program from the Big 12 and Conference USA are currently leading the way for the talented Smith, a small forward who is coming off a big season for Minneapolis Patrick Henry High.

"There are two primary schools right now," McKenzie said. "I would list Marquette and Iowa State as being neck and neck for being the front-runners. They're within close proximity to home and both play in competitive basketball conferences.

"He's gotten a lot of interest. We're getting calls every day, and someone else is coming to the table. Over the course of those two weeks that coaches were able to be out, I think he got offered by every school that was in here. Right now he's just trying to work on his game and make a decision on what he wants to do."

The Cyclones' promotion of Darryl Sharp to assistant coach can only help their chances of landing Smith. Sharp has a solid connection with McKenzie and several area high school and AAU coaches.

"I've known Darryl for a while and consider him one of my better friends in the business," McKenzie said. "That will have some impact, but basically the decision is really going to come down to what's best for Brandon and where there's going to be an opportunity for him to play, develop, and get better. He's also a National Honor Society student, so academics will also be a factor."

College coaches are impressed with Smith's build and in the strengths of his game.

"He certainly has a big-time collegiate body," McKenzie said. "He's a very athletic kid and his offensive rebounding is a strength. He's also a very smart kid on the floor. He has the ability to get to the hole. These are all things that have impressed people. He has a tremendous upside.

"He's got to become a better shooter, but he handles the ball fairly well and is an extremely good passer for a guy his size. Down the road he'll be able to play three or two. He's a wing."

Could a decision come before the ABCD Camp? Not likely, says McKenzie.

"He'll play this summer and I don't expect he'll make a decision until August or September," Smith's coach said.

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