Solid Leader for Smith

Durham (NC) Mt. Zion forward Tracy Smith is now qualified. Could his recruitment be coming to an end?

Tracy Smith recently found out the good news. After taking the SAT, the Durham (NC) Mt. Zion star received a qualifying test score and now he just needs to focus on his official visits and picking a school.

"Everything has been going the same with recruiting, but now I'm qualified," Smith told Pack Pride. "I feel real good about that. I studied for it, and I did real good on it so I'm all good. With the score I got and my GPA, I don't even have to take it again."

After averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds as a junior, Smith plans on making even more of an impact at Mt. Zion this season.

"I'm just trying to be the team captain and the leader," he said. "I know a lot of people are expecting big things out of me so I'm going to do what I've got to do. That is how I'm approaching this year."

Checking in at 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, Smith burst on the scene at the 2006 ABCD Camp where he was one of the top players in attendance. Smith averaged 12.6 points (seventh-best overall) and grabbed five rebounds per game, as he was tabbed one of the top 10 players overall by He was also selected to play in the ABCD All-Star Game, and finished with 22 points and eight boards to earn MVP honors.

His strong play continued throughout the summer, and colleges certainly started to take notice. He has cut his list to four schools and plans on taking official visits to each. That is the plan for now at least.

"I'm going to try and take visits to LSU, USC, Oklahoma State, and NC State," said Smith. "My mom has really been talking to the coaches and setting up the visits. I'm going to talk with her and find out when all those are set up for because she has been handling that."

He spoke briefly about all four programs and their advantages.

LSU: "I just like it. I like the team, and they went to the Final Four last year. I think I could go there and fit in."

USC: "I like California, and coach Tim Floyd, I think he's a good coach. I think he can get me where I need to be."

Oklahoma State: "I like them because they've been showing me a lot of interest. I don't know too much about them right now."

NC State: "I just like NC State. I love the ACC, I've been wanting to play in the ACC for the longest time. It's already in North Carolina, I love the area, and my mom has been talking about moving down here. My mom likes Sidney Lowe... she says he's a cool guy."

Smith lost nearly 60 pounds this year to improve his conditioning and athleticism.

Smith, who is rated the No. 13 power forward and No. 45 overall prospect in the 2007 class by, lost nearly 60 pounds this year to improve his athleticism, endurance, and chances to play at the highest level. He has the skill set to take bigger players to the perimeter, but he can also bang in the post and score around the basket.

Currently two schools are recruiting him the hardest.

"NC State and Oklahoma State are on my hardest," said Smith. "They've been calling me, and they have been up to the school to see me a couple of times. They've just been showing the most interest."

NC State is looking to add quality depth to its frontcourt and recently landed a huge commitment from five-star prospect J.J. Hickson. Hickson, who is listed as the No. 3 center and No. 21 player in the country by, is a guy that Smith is very familiar with.

"J.J. Hickson was on my ABCD Camp team, and we played good together," Smith stated. "I think we can come to NC State and play well together. I could play some three and four, and he can play some four and five. I think he's real good, and working with him would be good because he can get it done.

"I think if I went there we could be good next year. We could accomplish a lot because I know we both can get it done."

Does Smith have a leader?

"NC State is my leader right now for all the reasons I've said. I've been wanting to play in the ACC, and I just like NC State. I like coach Lowe and the other coaches, and I think it would be a good fit for me."

A decision could come as early as next month, but Smith plans on not signing until next April.

"I think I'm going to make a solid verbal in November, during our Bull City Classic Tournament, and probably sign in April," said Smith. "I just want to do that to keep my options open and be on the safe side... in case anything happens. That's what I'm thinking of doing right now anyways."

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