Smith talks recruiting and rumors

Even though he's only 16 years old, Kentwood (Kent, Wa.) C Josh Smith is a man among boys and it isn't just because he's almost 6-9, 280 pounds. His calm demeanor and easy-going personality make him a natural leader as well as a player that coaches from across the country want on their team. caught up with the big man recently and he updated us on things.

"Things have been going good," Smith said after a recent workout. "It's pretty much AAU and trying to work out a little bit, but school is pretty much the most important thing."

Smith and his Rotary Select teammates have been to Arkansas and Portland the past couple weeks and this week they head to the Arizona Cactus Classic. Being the second-youngest player on the team can have its drawbacks, but compared to when he was a freshman it's a breeze.

"Last year I was a freshman on with a bunch of juniors so I knew my place and I knew they were going to get their shots and I just tried to get offensive rebounds," Smith recalled. "Last year was tough because I'd get a rebound, I'd pass it out and they'd go down and shoot a three and I was like ‘ok' and my dad told me ‘just don't be surprised because that's what they're going to do' and ‘they're going to go for theirs and try and get a scholarship' so it was just about getting rebounds and that's what it was all about last year."

But this year, Smith is focused on becoming an offensive threat and he's been getting the coaching necessary to change his game.

"I'm just expanding my game," Smith said. "My coaches were telling me a lot of times during my season I would get triple-teamed and I was just going block to block. Now I'm trying to expand my game so teams can't go ‘oh he's just going to go block to block so we'll just do a zone and pack it down on him' so I just want to make it a little harder for defenses to guard me."

On the recruiting front, with over 20 offers to his name, Smith's parents' and coaches' phones have been ringing off the hook.

"My coach came to me before my season started and said he was getting a call every single night," Smith said with a chuckle. "He said as soon as June comes around and they can call me that it's going to be crazy and he said he's taking messages and he gives them my dad's number if they want to talk to him.

"I'll get calls from people saying ‘We hear you're going to UCLA' and I'm like ‘no, I'm still open'. My mom's side of the family is down there. The USC coach came up a couple weeks ago and because my god brother is one of the direct helpers with the team and he talks with coach (Tim) Floyd, then he'll text me and he'll be like ‘coach Floyd wants you'.

"The other day we were in Arkansas and the Louisville dude was there and I was like ‘Ok, he's there for (Peyton) Siva, I know that' and then he came up to my school and he had a signed offer from coach Rick Pitino offering me a full-ride and then this week Lorenzo (Romar) has been up to our school and the Arizona State coach has been up to our school. So I'm just trying to get prepared for it.

"By the end of my junior season I want to have it narrowed down, if I haven't committed, to five schools just to cut it down a little bit."

One persistent rumor that Smith didn't quite put to rest was him possibly transferring to another school.

"The thing is, since the end of my season, I've heard I'm going to Bellarmine Prep, Rainier Beach, Federal Way and when I was in Arkansas a guy said he heard I was going to California, so I told him ‘that's news to me' and that I went down there and said ‘hi' to them, but that's about it," Smith said. "I'm not going anywhere right now, I'm still at Kentwood and I'm staying here, I'm not transferring anytime soon."

Smith said after the Classic this week he may take in the Amare Stoudemire camp and is still looking at dates for other camps as well.

We'll continue to follow his progress over the coming weeks and months and update things as they change.

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