Billy Smith is the proud father of one of the Jayhawks’ top targets for 2005: 6-7 SF Tyler Smith.
The Pulaski, TN talent is currently focused on his AAU season with “Southeast Elite”. The team tipped off their 2004 campaign in Houston at the Houston Kingwood Classic and will travel to the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions at the end of the month.
As Tyler continues his AAU season and finishes out his junior year at Giles County High School, he and his father are casually thinking about where Tyler might play college ball.
“Tyler is a kid and I want him to enjoy being a kid,” said the elder Smith. “We’re in no rush with all of this.”
It appears the Smith family will take their time with the whole recruiting process making sure to find the right fit for Tyler, while not overwhelming him in the process.
“I think we’ll wait to sit down after summer ball and get down to the five or ten schools and go from there.”
“There are so many schools recruiting him right now. I’d list them off, but it would just sound like bragging, so let’s just say there’s definitely more than ten.”
While the quantity of Smith’s suitors has impressed the family, it’s quality that they’re seeking. A visit late last month from the Kansas coaching staff has both father and son thinking Kansas is among the best when it comes to quality programs.
“The visit went nice. He likes Coach (Bill) Self and Coach (Joe) Dooley. I think he was impressed by the way they sold the program. He liked their style of playing basketball too.”
Smith liked KU’s presentation so much that he plans to take a closer look at Kansas basketball this fall. His father said both he and his son are excited for Tyler’s trip to Lawrence.
“We’re really looking forward to coming over for their Midnight Madness in the fall.”
Between now and then, Tyler will continue to play ball with “Southeast Elite” and keep on mulling over his college decision. Billy Smith says there are several things – including playing time – that will weigh heaviest on his son’s mind when making his decision.
“Education is important. It’s also important for him to come in and not necessarily start but have a chance to have some playing time. He needs to go to a place where he might fit in and have a chance to play.”
According to his father, a season of bench-warming is not an option for Smith.
“I'm not going to want to see him in a situation where he just comes in and sits the whole time.”
Smith simply wants his son to contribute in his freshman season. He said Tyler doesn’t need to the “The Man” in year number one.
“We don't want to ever be ‘the guy’, because it's a team sport, but we don't want to go somewhere and just sit the bench. I don't want that at all.”
That won’t likely be a problem no matter where Smith picks. The Insiders network has this five-star talent rated as the 9th best overall prospect in the 2005 class.
While the likelihood of Smith getting on the floor his first year shouldn’t be in question, which position he’ll play in college is another matter. Billy Smith says he can see his son playing three different positions in college.
“I think he can play from one to the three.”
So, which one specific spot is he best suited for?
“I'd say two or three, but he can bring it up too.”
The versatile Smith can do a lot of things well including getting to the basket. His jump shot, however, is still a work in a progress and is one area that his dad would like to see improve.
“He's going to have to work on his jump shot, that 10-15 foot jump shot.”
He’ll also benefit in the weight room during his first college season, but the issue of getting bigger is not one that concerns Smith’s dad as much as it might concern other high school fathers.
“Physically he can step in there and play college ball fine. He weighs about 225 and he's alright. Of course you're going to hit the weights more when you get to college because the weight program is better, but I think Tyler is alright in that regard.”
There’s little doubt that Smith with be just fine in most phases of the game as his takes his big time talent to the next level in 2005. The only question is where his talent will be on display. The answer appears to be quite a ways away, but keep checking back throughout the spring and summer for more on this five-star stud from Pulaski, TN.