The journey that led Quadree Smith to Providence was anything but typical and the Friars may need him to contribute right away in order to be successful this season.
High school was anything but stable for Smith as he went to three different schools during his four years. Smith started at Archbishop Carroll in Washington DC and then would move to Paul IV Catholic in Fairfax, Va. The forward would then transfer to Potomac High School in Md.
Smith told the Providence Journal that athletic and academic reasons influenced the moves between different high schools over that four-year stretch.
At Potomac, Smith led the school to a Maryland 2A state championship. Following that Smith would evaluate his offers from numerous college programs.
Mid-major schools like Cleveland State, East Tennessee State and Bowling Green were interested in Smith. Larger programs like Nebraska and Tennessee would also send their offers his way. However, despite all of the interest, Smith did not feel ready for the rigorous Division I schedule because of his weight.
Smith told the Washington Post, "I wanted to go and take a year and get in better shape," and added, "when I do go accept a high major D-I offer, I can go in there right away and play and contribute a lot."
Instead, Smith decided to play for the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. while taking one online course to continue his education. During his time at IMG, the big man said that he had lost 30-35 pounds and was down to about 270. According to Providence Athletics, Smith currently weighs 285 pounds.
Smith, as a captain, led his IMG team to a 23-4 season and a place in the 2015 National Prep Championship back in March. The time in Florida acted as a college experience for Smith. After his time with the academy, it was time for the forward to reevaluate his college offers once again.
Mid-majors schools showed interest again and even Penn State, Boston College and South Florida recruited Smith, but a late visit changed everything.
At the last minute Providence associate head coach Andre LaFleur wanted to talk with Smith about possibly becoming a Friar. The forward, at one point, was going to play for UNC- Greensboro. However, after the rollercoaster ride that his high school career and recruitment, Smith chose Providence.
Coach Ed Cooley’s Friars are very thin in the frontcourt in every sense of the term. Providence only has four players who are 6-foot-8 or taller and just four that weight more than 220 pounds. The rest are guards who are more slender, which exposes height issues and a problem guarding big men in the paint.
That is where the 6-foot-8, 285-pound Smith comes in. The Friars need Smith to be a vital part of the team this season, especially due to the fact that top recruit Alex Owens is not on the roster due to academic ineligibility. It also does not help that 7-foot-2 Paschal Chukwu transferred to Syracuse. The only experienced forward left on the roster is Ben Bentil and Smith will need to help him on both sides of the ball so the sophomore is not carrying the entire load.
Providence looks to use Smith’s physical size to dominate teams in the paint on both sides of the basketball. The forward will be a mismatch inside and has solid hands to catch the ball. Smith will be able to make some plays offensively and not many players in the Big East will be able to guard him.
Other skills that come with Smith include his quick feet and the ability that he has to pass the ball. Both are works in progress, but solid for a player his size. Again, big problems for Big East opponents.
Another Smith, Georgetown graduate Joshua Smith, comes to mind when thinking of Quadree, but Providence’s big man could make an even larger impact in college.
Smith needs to work on his weight, which is a given. In order to get better as a player, Smith must lose more weight. It will make him more mobile in the paint and allow him to contribute more minutes in games if he improves his stamina.
Obviously, the Friars will be led by Kris Dunn, Bentil and the abundance of guard talent at Cooley’s disposal. With that in mind, the Friars still need help down low and Smith is the key. With production from Smith, Providence will be right in the mix for the conference title.