CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. --- Ray Smith, a 6-foot-8 small forward from Las Vegas High School, has played extremely well while participating at the NBPA Top 100 Camp. Smith, a five-star recruit who is in the Class of 2015, really stood out to me while I had the opportunity to watch him.
Smith is a long and athletic forward that can score easily and attacks the basket effectively. Scouts may say that Smith should be taking more shots, but his ability to attack the basket at such an effective rate should overtake that. He does not necessarily need to take more shots when he can create so many opportunities for himself by getting to the basket at the rate that he often does.
One of the big things that I noticed was that most of his baskets came directly after a turnover for the opposition. Smith has his own defensive philosophy, and he explained this when I had the chance to talk to him.
"It depends on my team," Smith told me. "Defense is a team thing. I try to stay on my man, but if I do get beat, which happens in basketball, I will depend on my teammates to step over or my teammates will depend on me to step over. I will get into him and touch him, put my hand out there or l set up a trap, what I like to call it, to make it seem like he is open, and then explode to the ball."
This philosophy is really good for him because of his remarkable length. By him being so long, he forces opposing players to change up their shot and has displayed shot-blocking abilities.
One thing that Smith is working on right now is just being aggressive and attacking. For him, it is not just attacking the basket, but in all aspects of the game for him.
"When I get the ball, I attack. Not just attack the glass. But attack when I create for others. Attack on defense. Just attack," Smith told me. This is something that sounded really simple when talking to him, and he is really working toward that. It’s one of the biggest goals he has for the rest of his high school career.
Overall, he is truly an extremely active player on both ends of the floor.
Smith will need to continue to work on his body in terms of getting his strength up because right now of his skinniness and lack of muscle mass. Improving his post game will also be something for him to work on. When he has a small defender on him on the block, with the right development of post moves, Smith should be able to blow by his smaller defenders. Shying away from the perimeter is what he has to stop though, because he has a good shot that he should be able to trust at this point.
Off the court, Smith is a fun person to be around. When he was talking to the media, he took his mind off the game for a moment and commented on the footwear of one of the media members. His calm, cool, and collected demeanor has been a huge strength of his and has been showcased throughout the entire process. When Smith is on the floor he has a mixture of being focused and having fun. Remember, he is still a kid. Smith was very welcoming of talking about that demeanor of his.
"I am a very focused person. You can't take the fun out of basketball. You see me smiling, talking to other teams. I am 17 years old and I am still a kid even though it's a business."
In terms of recruitment, Georgetown really likes him a lot and that feeling is mutual. Despite being on the west coast, Smith showed off a wealth of knowledge on the east coast school. Smith recently cut his list to 10 and three of those schools will be getting visits. Georgetown, Louisville, and Arizona will see him on campus for unofficial visits, according to a conversation that Big East Coast Bias had with Smith’s father.
Assistant coach Tavaras Hardy is recruiting him, and he talked about the relationship he has with him.
"He went MIA on me. I talk to him every week, and he is a really good dude," Smith said.
Since Georgetown is going to get an unofficial visit from him, it shows that he thinks highly of them. The Hoyas have been doing a good job of keeping in contact with him as much as possible even though Hardy did go MIA on him for a short while. Smith will be attending the Kevin Durant Camp, which is when he will take that unofficial visit. If they like they see on the unofficial visit, then it is almost a guarantee that they take an official visit to the school.
Before the visit to Georgetown though, Smith will be visiting Connecticut in a few days.
As for now, Smith has been getting the national attention he deserves and is showing what he can do. He is very excited for the summer and what's coming for him. Whatever school he commits to, this five-star recruit is sure to make an impact. According to 247sports, Arizona currently leads the "Crystal Ball Selection" with 89 percent.
All we can do right now is speculate and wait for the summer and beyond for Ray Smith.