INDIANAPOLIS -- Dennis Smith is focused on one task this spring. When the explosive Class of 2016 point guard was asked what he was trying to prove on the spring grassroots circuit with Team Loaded he had a simple response.
"That I'm the best player in the country," Smith said.
Currently regarded as the No. 5 overall prospect and the No. 1 point guard in Scout.com's Class of 2016 national rankings, Smith is certainly in the discussion as one of the best players in the country. There is a lot to like about the 6-foot-2 point guard's game, but this spring, he's working on becoming more of a positive leader for his teammates.
"My main focus right now is becoming more vocal. That's what a lot of guys said I needed to work on last year so that's my main thing. Being a better leader," Smith said. "I think I've been doing a good job. Being vocal is about more than just chewing your teammates out. It's about telling them what's right and what's wrong in a positive manner. So I've been doing a good job with that."
While being a better leader is of vital importance to Smith, he's also continuing to work on his perimeter jumper to go along with his ability to get in the paint whenever he wants.
"I've definitely improved on it because I've been working on it, but it's taking more jumpers," Smith said. "Last year I was trying to get to the rim on everything and now I'm taking more jumpers and I'm saving energy."
As for recruiting, Smith continues to hear regularly from the UNC coaches and noticed their presence at his games in Indianapolis during both April sessions of the adidas Gauntlet.
"I've heard from them a lot, actually," Smith said of Carolina, a school he has visit many times in the past year. "I've noticed the coaches here at every game too. Once again, I'm thankful for that."
The Tar Heel staff has pitched the notion of teaming Smith in college with friends and fellow point guard Seventh Woods.
Smith answered those questions by pointing to his past, as well as other examples.
"I would [play with another point guard]," Smith said. "I did that when I was younger with Seventh Woods and we played in the same backcourt. It was a dynamic backcourt. I've seen Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones do it. [Goran] Dragic played with some other points [with the Suns]."
Regardless if Smith is paired up with another elite guard at the next level, he's ready to lead like the player he's trying to model his game after the most -- Russell Westbrook.
"He's super explosive. People say he's not a point guard but he gets his teammates involved," Smith said of Westbrook. "He rebounds, he plays hard every possession. I love Westbrook. I try to be similar to that."
Smith is going to take his time in the recruiting process and said he isn't going to host any coaches or take any official visits until after the summer.
"All I can tell you is my in-home visits begin in the fall," Smith said.
Smith Hearing A Lot From UNC
Inside Carolina Top Stories
Seahawks Draft JonesJones joins Mitch Trubisky as the lone Tar Heels selected in the first three rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Inside CarolinaYesterday at 8:31 PM
Trubisky Selected No. 2 OverallThe record-setting quarterback is the ninth player in UNC history to be drafted in the first 10 picks of the NFL Draft.
Inside CarolinaThursday at 5:15 PM
UNC Remains the Team to Beat for JerkinsAlthough he has made countless visits to UNC, the four-star safety will return to campus this June.
Inside CarolinaThursday at 6:43 AM
NFL Draft PreviewTrubisky could potentially become the ninth Tar Heel to be taken in the top-10 of the NFL Draft.
Inside CarolinaWednesday at 12:46 PM