Did visit to U of L sway Jerry Smith?

EXCLUSIVE -- Jerry Smith has now made three official visits this spring. The 6-foot-3 standout just returned home from his trip to Louisville, and said he found much to like about U of L. Was Smith's visit to U of L enough to sway him? Have the Cardinals emerged as Smith's favorite? Is Scout.com's No. 42 ranked prospect closer to making his college decision?

Jerry Smith said Sunday night that he had an enjoyable official visit to the Univeristy of Louisville over the weekend.

With nearly all of the current U of L basketball players out of town - Taquan Dean is in New Jersey, Juan Palacios returned home to Columbia - 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman Brian Johnson served as Smith's official tour guide during his visit.

"It went real well, and I really liked it alot," said Smith, who declined to compare his trip to U of L with previous visits to Wisconsin and Wake Forest. "Brian Johnson was my guide, and we toured the campus and went to Fourth Street (Live). We had alot of fun."

When Smith wasn't touring U of L's facilities, relaxing in the comforts of Minardi Hall, or living it up in downtown Louisville, he had some important conversations with Louisville coach Rick Pitino about a possible future in the Cardinals backcourt.

"I talked to Vince Taylor and Coach Pitino quite a bit this weekend," said Smith. "Coach Pitino expressed his interest in me to come in and replace the scoring load when Taquan Dean graduates."

Smith, who envisions himself a combo guard capable of running a team, said the thought of replacing Dean and running Pitino's offense was an intriguing proposition.

"He's a great college basketball player, and it's appealing to me (to) possibly replace (Taquan)," Smith said.

Smith, who averaged 20 points and 9 assists as a junior at Wauwatosa East High, found much to his liking with the situation at U of L.


Smith said his visit to U of L might
have been his last.

"I like Coach Pitino and the campus, especailly the living arrangements," said Smith. "It's also a place where you get so much exposure."

With three official visit under his belt, Smith still wasn't ready Sunday evening to declare a leader. However, he did admit that his trip to U of L might be his last, despite a scheduled visit to Tennessee in early June. He also admitted that Louisville would factor heavily into his decision when the time comes.

"Oh yeah, Louisville is a serious contender," Smith said. "But there's no favorite right now."

Smith also said he's spoken recently with relatives living in Louisville, but indicated they aren't pressuring him one way or another.

"I didn't see them on my visit, but I spoke with them the week before," Smith said. "They live about five minutes from campus but they haven't put any pressure on me to go to Louisville. They just tell me to pick the school that's best for me."

Smith said his next step will be to sit down with his parents to discuss his latest trip. That meeting might not occur until Monday as Smith's father, Jerry Sr., wasn't slated to return home from an AAU tournament in Ohio until late Sunday night.

"I'll have to sit down and talk to my dad and mom," said Smith.

Last week, Smith's father indicated that his son had some questions about how he and U of L commit Edgar Sosa would fit together in Pitino's backcourt. However, the younger Smith didn't sound as concerned about that aspect as did his father.

"I didn't really have any questions," Smith said. "He's (Sosa) a good player, but it won't scare me away. Anywhere you go, there's going to be good players and that's what you want if you're competitive."

Whatever Smith ultimately decides, comfort - with coaches, players and the system - according to the 6-foot-3 standout, will be the main factor in his decision.

"I was pretty comfortable at U of L," Smith said.


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