Getting an Early Jump

Already entering his fifth varsity year at one of the top high schools in Minnesota, sophomore shooting guard Jordan Smith is one of the focal points of his team's offense, poise that has made college coaches take early notice.

MADISON - With the pending departure of veteran backcourt duo Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes after next season, the Badgers will be looking to add depth at their guard positions over the next couple years. Jordan Smith, a 6-1 shooting guard from Orono High School (MN), could be exactly what the Badgers are looking for, as they attempt to fill this void and continue to recruit prospects in Golden Gopher territory.

Smith recently finished up his sophomore season and is classified as a 2011 prospect, despite having played on the varsity squad since the seventh grade. This unique experience allowed Smith to compete against top competition, receive advanced tutelage from high-quality coaches and have the opportunity to play with current Badger Jon Leuer during his seventh and eighth grade seasons, an experience that Smith undoubtedly values.

"Playing with good players such as Jon Leuer and playing under quality coaches, at such a young age, has been two of the major benefits of playing varsity since the 7th grade," he said.

After Jon graduated from Orono and took his game to the Big Ten, Smith also elevated his game, leading the varsity team in scoring during both his freshman and sophomore seasons.

After scoring in double figures in 20 of 26 games during his freshman season, Smith upped his output to over 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists a game for his sophomore season.

This productivity certainly caught the eyes of the Badger coaching staff and Smith's lead recruiter, Greg Gard, as well as assistant Howard Moore. According to Smith, "Coach Gard came up to Orono last year with Coach Moore to watch me, they also have watched me play at the Badger camps and during some tournaments." It was at those tournaments that the Badger staff was able to catch both Smith and current Badger recruit Mike Bruesewitz perform for the AAU team 43 Hoops Club.

In addition to Wisconsin, Northwestern and Pepperdine have been recruiting him the hardest, while Smith says, "Iowa State and Minnesota have also been recruiting me and Notre Dame has been sending me some stuff." Smith's recruitment is sure to heat up in the upcoming months, as he plans on attending the summer camps at Wisconsin, Iowa State and Minnesota this June. Furthermore, Smith and his AAU team, the 43 Hoops Club, are fresh off winning the Minnesota Select Classic and then are off to Atlanta and Indianapolis, respectively, the following two weekends.

As Smith's recruitment continues to intensify, one of the more interesting storylines to follow will be the tension regarding the Badger recruitment of another prospect with a Minnesota heritage. In fact, Smith's father once called the Minnesota campus home as a Golden Gopher alumnus. Despite the obvious ties to his home state, Smith maintains an open mind and a mature view on the pressure during the recruiting process.

"There is always going to be pressure from relatives to stay close," Smith said. "Obviously I would love to stay close to home, but there is a lot more to it than that."

While Smith clearly has ties to Minnesota, he also has some strong connections to the Badgers. As previously mentioned, Jordan's former high school teammate is current Badger sophomore Jon Leuer, to whom Jordan has talked about his experience as a Badger.

"(Leuer) loves it, he says he couldn't think of a better place to go," Smith said. "Every time I go down there I talked to him about it." In addition to Leuer, former 43 Hoops Club player and incoming Badger recruit Mike Bruesewitz is also someone that Jordan says he assumes he will stay in touch with as Bruesewitz makes the transition from Minnesota to Wisconsin. Overall, in terms of recruitment, Smith said that it was too early to necessarily name a leader.

"I'm not really sure, everyone is pretty close in terms of recruiting, I also haven't seen many places and definitely want to take a closer look at some places before I make any decisions," he said.

Smith said that while as of now he did not have any official visits planned, he was looking forward to visiting Pepperdine and Iowa State in the future.

Critiquing his own performance, Smith said "my shot is pretty good and probably my strength, but I definitely want to work on my ball handling this spring and summer."

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