Earlier this week, Pitino traveled to Florida to check out 6'9 Ricardo Ratliffe, the nation's No. 1 junior college player – a story broken by InsideTheVille.com. Ratliffe could factor heavily into Louisville's recruiting plans this spring.
Smith, a 6-0, 165-pound point guard from South Kent (CT) Prep, Smith averaged 29.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists for Coach Jack Curran as a senior last season at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, N.Y. as the Stanners posted a 15-9 record.
Smith led the New York City Catholic league (CHSAA) in scoring two years, averaging 24.5 points per game as a junior. His top scoring effort in high school was 47 points as a senior against both St. Francis Prep and Christ the King, the latter coming in an 87-85 loss in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan semifinals.
Smith was named to the 2009 New York State Sportswriters Association all-state team. He also earned first-team all-CHSAA "AA" honors and New York Daily News All-Queens first team status as a senior. He scored 27 points in the 2009 Jordan Brand Classic Regional Game at Madison Square Garden on April 18, helping the City team beat the Suburban team 129-120 to earn co-MVP honors.
"We were looking for someone who could play two positions in the back court, who could back up both Peyton and Preston," Pitino said. "He's terrific. He reminds me of a lot of DeJuan Wheat. He's a prolific scorer."
Pitino said Smith meets his program's emphasis on recruiting players who can shoot the ball.
"That's a prerequisite for us right now," Pitino said.
Louisville had three commitments from 2010 prospects last spring. That recruiting class, consisting of Jeremy Tyler, Justin Martin and Josh Langford, fell apart after Richard Pitino left to join Billy Donovan at Florida. Tyler skipped his senior year of high school to turn pro, while Martin signed with Xavier. The Cardinals parted ways with Langford due to academic concerns.
"Even with Richard we were only going to recruit one or two players in this class," Pitino said. "We knew we were putting all of our eggs in next year's basket. We knew that all along. We need scholarships available for next year."
Louisville already has three commitments from the 2011 class, including two talented front court prospects in 6'10 Michael Chandler and 6'9 Zach Price. 6'6 Ryan Taylor is also committed to the Cards. Pitino hopes to wrap his class up with Top 20 prospects Marquis Teague and Wayne Blackshear.