Junior to Watch: Jerry Smith

For now, it's only letters. But that could change for Jerry Smith in time.

The 6-2 ½, 190-pound junior combo guard out of Wauwatosa East High (Wis.) played well enough this past summer to attract attention from numerous high-major programs. North Carolina coach Roy Williams will go after a guard in the junior class, and Smith and his versatility could be just what Williams wants.

Smith is a big-time scorer who is a true combo guard. He still needs to work on his ballhandling to be a dominant point guard and he also needs to improve his ability to go left, but he's established himself as one of the elite players in the Class of 2006 nonetheless.

Smith, who played shooting guard in high school last season, said that right now his top schools are Iowa, Wake Forest, Wisconsin and Illinois. North Carolina's correspondence has been limited to written letters thus far. His father, Jerry Sr., added that Kentucky, Purdue, Louisville, Stanford and Arizona have all expressed interest as well.

"There's been nothing serious so far with North Carolina," Smith said. "I have so many good schools that are interested already."

"Right now I'm just sitting back and trying to figure out which schools are interested," Smith said. "Then I'll make up a list."

Smith, whose father played at Iowa, is the latest in the line of Wisconsin players who have fared well nationally. Recently, it's been big guys like Brian Butch and Greg Stiemsma, who have both stayed home for college. Now Smith and freshman Korey Luicous have earned a spot on the national radar.

"People look at him as a scoring guard," Jerry Smith Sr. said. "He can take you off the dribble or pull-up and shoot it from beyond the arc. He's got an explosive first step and a 38-inch vertical."

Smith is strong enough to finish in traffic and his outside shot has improved in the past year. Because he played shooting guard last season at Wauwatosa East, which produced former Wisconsin star Devin Harris, he seems more comfortable at the two-guard spot right now. Smith has a 3.4 GPA and became the first sophomore in the state to earn a spot on the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association first-team after averaging 17.8 points for Wauwatosa East, which went 20-2 last season.

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