J.R. Smith - Back on the radar

Most people assumed that JR Smith was no longer a target of the North Carolina Tar Heels. The former staff in Chapel Hill pretty much backed off of Smith when they realized that his position might be a little overcrowded. When they backed off -- Smith started to leave out the Tar Heels in several media reports when listing his schools.

Well, some things change.

After all, this is basketball recruiting and nothing is EVER set in stone.

IC spoke with the super-athletic 6-6 WF today and received confirmation that the new regime in Chapel Hill has indeed made contact with Smith's high school coach, Danny Hurley, at St. Benedicts in Newark, NJ.

"They (the UNC staff) made contact with Coach Hurley," J.R. Smith said. "They got all of the information on where I'd be this summer and what events that I was going to play in. They want to recruit me again."

As for the events -- expect Smith -- who runs with the T5T Playaz, to be at the Tournament of Champions this coming weekend in the Triangle. The elite forward will also attend the ABCD camp, the Adidas Big Time in Las Vegas as well as the Three Stripes Classic.

"I'm probably going to call (the UNC staff) tomorrow and set up a tour or something," said Smith, who plans to take an unofficial tour of the UNC campus while in town this weekend.

Smith, who is widely considered one of the best five wing players in his 2004 class, is being recruited by many major college programs across the nation. And while he's loving the attention and the headlines -- he's taken a different approach in his recruitment.

"Right now, I've kind of slowed things down a bit," he explained. "I want to stop worrying about all of the recruiting stuff and just concentrate on my game again. I'll start thinking about it more towards the end of the summer."

Rumors started to circulate a couple of months ago that Louisville, under coach Rick Pitino, was on the verge of landing Smith. Those rumors were were probably correct and while he's backed off of saying that he's leaning to an early commitment to Pitino, the Cardinal still have an advantage at this time.

"Yeah, it's safe to say that they (Louisville) still lead," he said. "But like I said, I'm not going to do anything until the end of the summer at the earliest."

When asked about new coaching staff, Smith likes what he sees in Roy Williams.

"You know, he's a great coach," Smith said. "You have to look at that, and they've started recruiting me again. Nothing has really changed lately with my recruitment, but they're definitely back on my list."

And as for that list -- Smith ran off the programs under consideration: "Louisville, NC State, UNC, Pitt, Villanova and Syracuse," he said.


SIDE NOTE -- Smith will be in action with the Playaz this weekend at the Tournament of Champions and InsideCarolina.com will have a full staff on hand to provide comprehensive coverage.

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