Gamecocks target starting season strong

2012 combo guard Shawn Smith is really starting to make a buzz around the recruiting community. Gamecock Anthem caught up with him to talk about his success along with his team's. Smith also talks about which school has turned up the heat for him.

How do you raise your stock as a player? Well, there's many ways to do it.

One method that has proven to work: Play a national schedule and be the leading scorer for a team that has started 6-0.

"I think the season is going pretty good because we are playing the top teams in the country," Arlington Country Day guard Shawn Smith said. "We beat Norcross (Ga.). They were the No. 8 team in the country."

Smith talked about facing two top players in the country in Rodney Purvis (five-star, 2012 guard) and Jerome Seagers (2011 four-star guard, signed with Rutgers).

They also took down the defending NCISAA 1-A state champs in United Faith, which has multiple high major recruits.

Though his season high is only 29 points, in his season opener against Kestrel Heights (N.C.), the 6-foot-4 guard thinks his best outing was against Purvis.

"I knew Purvis was going to come in and play his game. My coach said that he was a tough player. He can bring it," Smith, who had 14 points, said. "I think I had five assists and six rebounds."

Meanwhile, according to Smith's coach, Rex Morgan, Purvis was held to just seven points.

"He's a very good defensive player," said Morgan, who stated that Smith guarded Purvis for the majority of the game when they weren't in a zone. "He gives us leadership. He does what he has to do."

"To me, it's unbelievable," Smith said. "Coming from my past, I haven't played a lot of top-rated players and a lot of top-rated teams. That's why I don't think a lot of people have heard about me because of I haven't been on the circuit."

Now that his stock has started to rise some, he's even seen a boost in his recruitment. He claims offers from South Carolina, Kansas State, West Virginia, Missouri, Florida State, Ole Miss, UCF and most recently, Tennessee.

Despite not having an offer, he says Miami is showing a lot of interest now, but, the Gamecocks are showing the most.

"I feel like they are showing me a lot of interest because a lot hand-written letters," he said of the Gamecocks. "I talk to (South Carolina assistant) coach (Mike) Boynton a lot, and he showed up to our United Faith game. He comes to a lot of practices too.

"It means a lot to me. It helps my decision. If I see that they are hot on the trail, it shows that I can build a strong relationship with them."

South Carolina was Smith's first offer, and Florida State was an early favorite and offer as well. However, The Seminoles have taken a couple of guard commitments over the last couple of classes, and it hasn't exactly rubbed the Jacksonville native the right way.

"It does bother me that they have taken those guards," he said. "It seems like they were just telling me things I want to hear."

But that hasn't knocked the FSU out of the running. It definitely has opened up his eyes though.

"I know I'm hard working, and if I go somewhere with other guards I'm going to come in and outwork them," he said.

Smith likes various schools for a variety of reasons, but as his recruitment comes full circle, his early leaders have come back to that pack.

"I think that the schools are all equal to me," he said. "No school really stands out to me anymore."

As far as those schools, Shawn breaks down what they see in him and what they expect out of him.

"I think the coaches like my court vision," he said. "Even though I'm a shooting guard, they like to play me at the one because of my IQ and passing. A lot of them want to play me at the one as a scoring guard. I'm not sure if I'll be a one or a two in college.

"I'm more comfortable playing the two, but at the next level, I want to transition to the one. But I have a lot of things to work on."

"You can put him in almost any system," Morgan added, "but I think he's best suited for an uptempo one.

"He's a complete player. He's doing it from 3, he's scoring on pull-ups. He gets to the line a lot as well. He's shooting 81 percent from the line."

Smith plans on making his decision most likely during his senior year after he takes all his official visits.

Though he didn't get to take an unofficial visit to Columbia, S.C. for the South Carolina-Clemson game Sunday like he wanted to, he did make a prediction for the game: "South Carolina by a good margin because they play harder."

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