Senior Swingman Shows Potential

An ultimate swingman with plenty of potential in both the physical and playing phases has Big East, ACC and Big Ten schools pursuing him.

Three-year starter Wellington Smith of Summit High School in Summit, N.J, whose smooth perimeter-oriented game has schools such as Seton Hall, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Penn State and West Virginia pursuing him, has improved dramatically during his high school career. However, he hasn't come close to reaching his potential, according to his coach, Eugene Maxwell.

"He's improved a great deal in the time he has been here," Maxwell said. "When he was a sophomore, he was only about 6-4, so he's grown about three inches, and I think he will grow some more, because he's only 17 years old. I think he has the potential to be a whole lot better in the next couple of years."

Smith, who tips the scales at around 195 pounds, is the tallest player on the Summit squad, but that doesn't stop Maxwell from playing him on the perimeter.

"This is the first year we played him outside so much, but we do that because that's where his strengths lie," Maxwell explained. "Playing him out there because that's where he'll play in college is part of it, too, but he's out best three-point shooter, so that's where we get the most benefit from playing him."

Summit runs an offense similar to West Virginia's moving, screening and reading system, which has provided the Mountaineer staff with the ability to see what Smith's looks like in a motion-oriented attack. And while that could be a vital advantage in WVU's recruitment, it won't be easy to fend off the efforts of their fellow Big East competitors.

Smith, who averages a double double with 22 points and 12 rebounds per game, hasn't confined his exploits to the perimeter. He recorded 14 blocks in a single game this year, and is also Summit's leader in assists. His coach also believes that Smith's ballhandling abilities are sufficient for the perimeter on the Division 1 level, while his potential for growth and improvement make him an intriguing prospect. He could man either a guard or forward spot a couple of seasons down the road, especially in those systems that demand superior ball handling and passing skills.

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