FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFFTA) – Incoming University of Arkansas freshman Nick Smith Jr., was tabbed the USA TODAY National High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Fellow Razorback signee Derrian Ford was one of 24 finalists up for the award as well.
According to USA TODAY, “Smith masterfully used his 6-foot-5 frame to create scoring angles and size mismatches during North Little Rock’s run to the Class 6A state championship. He was at his best in the state final, dropping 25 points. The centerpiece of Arkansas’s No. 1 rated recruiting class in the nation, Smith’s NBA Draft prospects are on the rise.”
Smith, a consensus national top-3 recruit, was also selected the #1 overall prospect in the country by 247Sports.com, the top-rated point guard in the country by Rivals.com and the top-rated shooting guard in the nation by ESPN.com. Smith was a McDonald’s All-American and was named co-MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic.
Both NBADraftRoom.com and ESPN.com currently list Smith as the first collegiate player (third overall) selected on their 2023 NBA mock drafts. CBSSports.com also has Smith as the top collegiate player but #4 overall. Fellow signee Anthony Black is currently the #5 overall pick for 2023 by NBADraftRoom.com and #9 by CBSSports.com while ESPN lists him as the #12 selection and Arkansas signee Jordan Walsh at #21. Walsh is the projected #22 pick by CBSSports.com
Smith was a two-time MaxPreps Arkansas High School Player of the Year and a two-time Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Player of the Year.
Smith joins Corliss Williamson as the only Razorbacks to be selected a national high school player of the year. Williamson earned the honor in 1992 as selected by Gatorade.