Ray Smith’s high school career is in serious jeopardy. But Sunday night, he took the first step toward planning for the future.
The five-star small forward verbally committed to the UA’s 2015 recruiting class, three days after suffering a serious knee injury.
The 6-foot-8-inch Smith, who plays for the Las Vegas High School Wildcats, announced his decision with a tweet.
“My high school has a saying once a wildcat always a wildcat. I guess it’s true,” he wrote. “I have committed to UofA #beardown.”
Smith’s timing is curious: He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during Thursday’s Adidas Unrivaled Camp in Chicago. The injury will likely cost Smith his senior season, his father told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“As of today I would say he’s not going to play the high school basketball season,” Bobby Smith told the newspaper. “If he comes back, it would be toward the end of the playoffs.”
Whether the ACL tear was a concern to any of the college coaches is unclear, but his father said it was not an issue. The Scout.com recruiting service ranks Smith as a five-star player. He chose Arizona over offers from nine other schools, including Texas, Louisville and defending national champion Connecticut.
“I talked to a couple of coaches recruiting him, and they said it was fine,” Bobby Smith told the Review-Journal. “I thought they would be alarmed, but all they said was, ‘When he gets back, we still want him.’ It’s not as devastating as it used to be, so the offers are still on the table.”
Smith is rated a five-star recruit by all the major scouting services, and Scout rates him as the No. 3 small forward — and No. 22 overall player — in the class of 2015.
Smith averaged 24.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game as a junior when he was named first-team all-state.
Smith is the second player to verbally commit to the UA for 2015; Temecula, California, guard Justin Simon is the other. UA coach Sean Miller continues to recruit a handful of prized recruits, including two guards — Allonzo Trier of Seattle and Isaiah Briscoe of New Jersey.
The Wildcats would be wise to stock up. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and incoming freshman Stanley Johnson are all candidates to leave early for the NBA after the 2014-15 season. And point guard T.J. McConnell will be a senior next season.
An ESPN.com scouting report had this to say about Smith’s game: “Smith is an active high level athletic wing forward that makes plays in transition and with slashes to the rim in addition to being an excellent offensive rebounder. A high major forward with a bright future and tremendous upside.”