Meet Javonte Smart, La's next, next big thing

He's only a freshman, but Scotlandville's Javonte Smart proved this weekend at the 2014 Combine in the Capital that he's ready to play with the big boys ... and occasionally beat them.

Who is that kid?

It's a phrase that echoed through the gyms Saturday at Baton Rouge's Team Sportsplex, home of the 2014 Combine in the Capital, which played host to a lot of Louisiana's best prep basketball talent.

But by the time Sunday rolled around, and the kid returned to play against the upperclassmen, there were no more questions. Everyone already knew, and talk of his game was being traded by onlookers as accepted currency.

He is Javonte Smart. And the freshman from Scotlandville Magnet (La.) is the next, next big thing in Pelican State hoops.

See, Smart (6-3, 166) can't hold the title of next. That belongs to the loaded Class of 2016, one which has a chance to rival the already heralded football crop of the same year.

His potential, though, is impossible to miss, and Smart, who primarily plays point guard, doesn't mind mixing it up with juniors and seniors to build his rep as he waits his turn to be the state's top dog.

A week after taking in LSU's campus as an unofficial visitor, Smart torched the competition in day one of the Combine and more than held his own against the older prospects on day two. Several of his testing measurements were impressive as well, namely the 8-foot-3 reach (the words "go-go gadget" were heard often) and 30-inch max vertical.

"He stands out as the best 2018 in Louisiana and definitely has the most potential of any 2018 in Louisiana based on what we've seen for the past year," said Combine Director Bryan Denison. "His basketball IQ is impressive. He's following in the line of guys like Skylar [Mays]. He's 6-3 and he's playing the point guard position. Javonte is just scratching the surface, too."

And like a Jarell Martin before him, Smart is emerging from diamond-in-the-rough status to the point where no one would be surprised if he's a top-flight national recruit by the time his senior year comes.

The three years between now and then will be awfully fun to watch.

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