Smith No Longer a Secret

KENT, Wash. - Josh Smith is no longer a secret on the West Coast. The hulking sophomore from Kentwood High is having a breakout season for the Conquerors, averaging nearly 22 points a game, and recently he updated about the recruiting process.

Smith has grown, both up and out as his frame matures. "I'm 6-foot-9, 280 pounds," Smith said, muscles clearly visible now replacing much of the baby fat he carried last summer. Far from a finished product, Smith admits he still has much to work on, highlighting finishing plays and rebounding as two areas he's particularly focused on improving.

"And the biggest thing is I need to stay out of foul trouble," he said.

As Smith has emerged as a legitimate low post threat, opposing teams have countered, often times resorting to triple teaming him in effort to slow him down. "It helps a lot having Jeremy (Green, averaging 14.5 points a game) because a lot of teams have been triple teaming me, and that opens it up when he can score like he does," he said.

And in a state that rarely features much tall talent, Smith has had to adapt his game accordingly. "A lot of times, when I'm stuck playing against little guys, they'll triple-team me," he explained. "But big guys usually guard me one-on-one so I can take it to them."

As for recruiting, the always polite big man is taking things at his own pace, apparently unfazed by the constant attention that accompanies being a blue chip prospect. "It's been like that since the eighth grade so I've just gotten used to it," Smith shared. "(Washington Head Coach) Lorenzo (Romar) was at my first game here so I've just gotten used to it.

"I haven't really paid much attention to recruiting," he added. "I've gotten a lot of letters and the coaches have been coming. My Dad told me not to commit until I'm ready to, and he said that if any of these guys are pressuring me to let him know and he'll tell them to please not call.

"Right now I'm just having fun. My Dad's thanking them for their calls and telling them that I'm undecided and thanks for the consideration."

Smith is racking up offers nonetheless. "I have offers from Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga, UCLA and Arizona," he said. And he isn't revealing who has the edge either. "I haven't really been thinking about a favorite. I've been watching them on TV but I can't really say I have a favorite."

And when it comes to academics, Smith is a stand-out student. "My Mom is strict on me about my grades," he laughed. "If I get a C, I get in trouble. She checks my grades on the internet every day."

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