Smith Narrows it Down

2015 four-star Las Vegas (Nev.) small forward Ray Smith narrowed his list down to ten on Tuesday, and will now begin to take more unofficial visits...

2015 Las Vegas (Nev.) small forward Ray Smith said recently that he wanted to narrow down his list so he could focus in on a smaller number of schools. On Tuesday, he cut it down, mentioning on Twitter that his top 10 is now Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, USC, Oregon, California, Wake Forest, Louisville, Georgetown, and Texas.

"It's a load off to have it down to ten schools," Smith said on Wednesday. "There's still room for other schools to get involved, but this was me just telling people that, as of now, I'm looking to get this thing over with. So, if you're going to get involved, now's the time."

The four-star wants to finalize his commitment by the fall signing period, which means that he'll be taking visits over the next several months in the hopes of narrowing his list down again to a top 3 or a top 5. Having already visited USC, Arizona, and Arizona State, he has some specific plans for the next month.

"I know I should be visiting Georgetown, UCLA, and Louisville coming up here in the next month, but I'm not sure of specific dates yet," Smith said.

Ray Smith.
Smith, the sixth-ranked small forward, actually made a point of pronouncing Louisville (Loo-vull) as a native when he recited his list of upcoming visits, and told us that if he pronounced it Loo-ee-ville in earshot of a Cardinals fan, "they'll take (my) head off."

He said as of now that no particular schools were standing out from the top 10, with each of them on an even playing field.

The Bruins have made Smith one of their priorities in the 2015 class, with the coaching staff touching base with him constantly and heading out to see him during the evaluation period. Smith said he's been hearing from much of the staff.

"The head coach, Steve Alford, has been talking to me a lot, and I want to say Coach Grace," Smith said. "They just told me they love big guards and they love to run. That kind of defines me, right?"

Smith said he got a chance to watch UCLA play during the Pac-12 Tournament and during a couple of games during the season, where the style of play and tenacity of the team stood out.

"I saw them in the Pac-12 Tourney," Smith said. "They made a real run with Kyle Anderson. I watched their game against Oregon during the regular season where a couple of guys were out, and they battled and made a huge comeback. Their young guys stepped up and actually went into double overtime, and that just shows you what kind of team they have."

Smith said schools are almost universally recruiting him as a pure wing, whether the two or three, and he's comfortable playing either position, since "they're basically the same position."

Arizona is another school that is on Smith particularly hard, and he says their pitch has been very similar to UCLA's.

"They just love to run and like big guards," Smith said. "The same sort of thing everyone is saying."

The pitch makes sense, of course, because Smith says his decision to pick a school will depend heavily on the style of play.

"They have to play my style of play, up and down," Smith said of his ideal school. "I always will look at how the schools represents themselves as far as pride and things like that. Academics will also play a role, but most of my schools have what I want to major in, which is psychology, so that's not really a big difference maker with my top ten."

With the recent glut of one-and-done talents, we asked Smith whether he sees himself as a one-year player in college.

"Honestly, I'm of age, I'm my correct age for my grade," Smith said. "Not to make an excuse, because people have done it, but for me, I would like to get a college experience, which to me would be at least two years. If I can go one and done, and be a top pick in the draft, then I'll go, because of course I'm not going to pass that up. But I want to see myself progressively get better in college. So my goal is two years, but if one year comes, then I'll be blessed and that'll be great."

As for those things he'd like to improve in college, Smith has a few specific things in mind.

"I need to keep getting better at staying low," Smith said. "I'm 6'8. I have to stay low so I can guard smaller guards. I also need to continue working on my ball-handling. Honestly, everything can get better. I just work on everything as a whole."

Smith said he'll take official visits before determining his college destination, but doesn't yet know where those officials will take him.

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