Smith nears decision, dad says Cards "look good"

Jerry Smith, who made his last official visit to Louisville three weeks ago, is in the final stages of the decision-making process. Louisville, Wake Forest and Wisconsin appear the final contenders, and several factors could tip the scales in favor of the Cardinals. Smith's father, Jerry Sr., provides Inside The Ville the latest.

Jerry Smith, one of the nations top guard prospects in the Class of 2006, is nearing a decision.

Smith, who takes his last final exam Thursday morning, will choose between one of five schools. And according to the players father, Jerry Smith, Sr., an announcement will likely be made by the end of next week.

"We're in the final stages, and we've got enough information to make a decision," Jerry Smith, Sr. said late Wednesday night. "It's come down to Louisville, Connecticut, Wake Forest, Tennessee, and Wisconsin."

And while Smith still lists five schools, it seems certain that the 6-foot-2 guard will choose either Louisville, Wake Forest or Wisconsin. Smith has officially visited Louisville, Wake Forest and Wisconsin this spring. He also made unofficial trips to Louisville and Tennessee. Just last week, Smith cancelled a scheduled official visit to Tennessee, telling Inside The Ville days before that planned trip that he'd only make the visit if he were seriously considering playing for the Volunteers. Smith hasn't visited Connecticut.

Now, Smith has entered crunch time - and he's in the final stages of the decision-making process.

"We're just weighing the pros and cons of each school," said Smith.

Asked to weigh the positives for Pitino's Cardinals, Smith provided nearly a handful of factors on the good side of the ledger.

"Louisville's pros look good," Smith admitted. "They're a little closer to home, they play in the Big East conference, and we've got relatives living in the city. But most of all, they've got Coach Pitino and Vince Taylor. I feel very comfortable with both of them and so does my son."

Smith's father, Jerry Sr., listed
several positive factors in
Louisville's favor.

Asked to do the same for the Demon Deacons (the presumed co-leader with Louisville for his son's services), Smith paused, then said, "We love Wake Forest and Skip Prosser. It's good."

When asked if Louisville was in the lead after comparing the pros of both the Cardinals and Demon Deacons, Smith said, "That's a tough call."

Asked if either school had any negatives on the ledger, Smith responded generally, "None of them have any negatives."

Though Smith mentioned that Louisville's relative closeness to home was a positive in the Cardinals favor, he later reiterated that distance wouldn't be an overriding factor - though he pointed out that Louisville is seven hours closer to his Wauwatosa, Wisconsin home by car.

"That's (distance) not going to be a factor," said Smith, adding that finding the right system and a school with opportunities for significant early playing time would be the determining factors. "Wherever he can see himself being happy that's where he'll go. Distance won't be a factor."

Now all that remains for Smith is to sit down - he'll likely do just that with parents in the next few days - and hammer out a decision.

So when will the folks in Madison, Louisville, and Winstom-Salem find out?

"Probably by the end of next week," said Smith.

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