Kentucky enters Tyler Smith sweepstakes

Tubby Smith was one of a number of coaches who took in Tyler Smith's game on Sunday at the Magic32 HoopHall Classic High School Basketball Invitational. Russ Blake spoke to Hargrave head coach Kevin Keatts to get an update on the recruitment of his star forward.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Tyler Smith may have erupted for 32 points and 15 rebounds in Hargrave Military Academy's 91-84 victory over the Winchendon School, but he's been much more than just a one-hit wonder for the Tiger basketball program this winter.

"The crazy thing about it is that you guys got to see it tonight, but before the [holiday] break and in the three games after the break, he's averaging 25 or 26 points per game," Hargrave Head Coach Kevin Keatts said. "He's a good player late and he's a good player early."

Smith took official visits to Pittsburgh and Iowa in the fall, but opted to sign in the spring. Both the Panthers and Hawkeyes remain viable options for Smith this winter, as do programs like Kentucky, Memphis and Nebraska.

A number of head coaches, including Iowa's Steve Alford, Kentucky's Tubby Smith and Nebraska's Barry Collier, took in Smith's game on Sunday at the Magic32 HoopHall Classic High School Basketball Invitational.

Keatts said Smith may take an official visit to Memphis the weekend of Jan. 28, as it is an open date for the Hargrave postgraduate basketball program.

"It seems like everyone in the country is now starting to call on him," Keatts added. "Wake Forest has inquired about him and wanted to know if they could get involved."

Smith had signed with Tennessee as a high school senior, but after failing to qualify academically, he enrolled at Hargrave to bolster his academic credentials. The transfer also gave him the opportunity to reevaluate his recruiting options after the Volunteer basketball program changed coaches last spring.

A player who thrives in an uptempo setting, the long-armed 6-7 Smith is a terrific finisher on the break and a dangerous presence along the baseline. He's become a better midrange jump shooter, but needs to continue honing his stroke beyond the three point arc.

"He's a great kid and a warrior who can score inside and out," Keatts said. "He reminds me a lot of the kid we had last year who's now at Pitt, Sam Young."

"A lot of times, when you get a 6-7 kid, he's a four/three," Keatts continued. "But this kid has a chance to be a three/four, because he can play on the perimeter, then if you need a basket from him, he can go down low and score."


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