2016 Intro: Kwe Parker & Junior Smith

Kwe Parker and Junior Smith are high school and AAU teammates. They're best friends off the court and perfect complements on it. Now, as they complete their freshman year, they're getting attention from some of the country's top programs.

"North Carolina, Kansas and Virginia called our AAU coach (Kevin Graves) last week," said Smith, who teams with Parker at Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity and the duo split their AAU time between the Karolina Diamonds and the Fayetteville Seminoles. "Huntington Prep also called. They all said they would be watching us this weekend."

A native of Godwin, N.C., Smith called Roy Williams "one of the best coaches in the country." He also said Michael Jordan and Vince Carter were his favorite players from UNC.

"I‘ve always liked Carolina," said Smith. "Where I'm from, everybody pretty much likes Carolina. You were either Carolina or Duke and I was Carolina. But, I also like Duke too."

Parker was excited when he found out UNC was interested.

"That was the only school I've really been waiting on," said Parker. "I was very excited. That's the school Michael Jordan went to."

Parker, Smith and the Diamonds will head north to take part in the Pittsburgh Jam Fest during the first spring open evaluation period this weekend. UNC is expected to have an assistant coach there to watch them.

"We've been playing together since like third grade," Parker said of him and Smith. "We love playing for the Diamonds because they are full of good players and we like playing with good players."

Diamonds head coach Kevin Graves said the duo's chemistry makes them more effective than most AAU backcourts.

"They've been playing together for so long, it's almost like Rodney Monroe and (Chris) Corchiani, fire and ice thing they have going on, he said. "They understand where each person is and know exactly where the other guy wants the ball. Junior knows when to give Kwe a bounce pass and when to give him a lob. They play with more chemistry than people who have been together their entire lives."

Smith has all the skills coaches look for in their future floor generals – poise, vision, scoring and passing ability (video highlights).

Evan Daniels, national recruiting director for Scout.com, said Smith was one of the most impressive performers at the Knoxvegas Heat Invitational earlier last week.

"He has terrific pace to his game and touches the paint when he needs to," Daniels said. "His court vision is impressive and he's particularly good at throwing alley-oop passes. While his ability to run a team is one of his best attributes, he's also a more than capable scorer. He made mid-range shots and knocked down a three in a win Saturday morning."

That's not far from the self-assessment Smith gave of his game which, he says, is molded after his two favorite players: Chris Paul and former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe.

"I bring leadership, energy on both ends of the floor, I can score for a point guard and I try to get my teammates involved," he said. "I want to make everyone around me better."

Parker, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound guard, said he mirrors his game after Wizards guard John Wall.

"We both play at a fast speed , we're both athletic and he's a big guard too," explained Parker. "I'm a very good defensive player who crashes the board."

The athleticism Parker displays is already a Youtube staple. High-flying dunks, windmills, 360s, reverses and tomahawks – if there's a dunk to be done, Parker has tried it. That doesn't mean he's just an athlete playing basketball though.

"He probably is the most unreal athlete I've ever been in a gym with," said Graves. "What's different about him is that most of the guys that are great defenders and leapers, they can't shoot. He's hit threes for us, taken guys off the bounce and showed versatility. He does a lot of things that don't show up in the box score."

In addition to contributing in a variety of ways with his skill, Parker is also the emotional leader of any team he plays on.

"He plays with more heart than most kids," said Graves. "There's no quit in him, ever. He doesn't know how to stop, he doesn't know how to play three-quarter speed, just full speed."

Parker and Smith are two of the most talented guards in what looks to be a 2016 in-state class full of talent. When they do decide on a college, it'll likely be the same one.

"We've been together forever," said Smith. "It's something we've talked about. We definitely want to go to the same school. The coaches always ask us that and we tell them that's our goal."

Kwe Parker Profile
Junior Smith Profile


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