FAYETTEVILLE, Ar. (KNWA/KFTA) – Arkansas freshman guard Nick Smith Jr. has been picking up preseason awards left and right over the past few weeks.
He’s already projected as a top five draft pick in next year’s NBA Draft, named National Freshman of the Year by CBS Sports, National Newcomer of the Year by Blue Ribbon Magazine and pre-season first-team All-SEC.
However, Smith doesn’t really take notice of them.
“I mean, because I really haven’t even earned it. So I don’t really just look at all the pre season awards. Honestly, I was probably selfish of me to say that, but, you know, I appreciate every award that they gave to me. But at the same time, I realized that, you know, I haven’t really done anything yet,” Smith said.
With all the accolades and honors, and talks of being a one-and-done, it’s crucial he tunes out all of the noise and just plays.
“You just do. I mean, for a lot of guys, for some guy, for some of the guys, it’s not easy. But you know, for for most of the guys on our team is, you know, is real, is real. You know, it’s real easy to just block out the noise and just go out there and just play and everything that you know, coaches talked about this year and, you know, that’s what’s going to happen,” Smith said.
Block out all the noise and just playing is only part of it, the other part is winning.
“You know, I just want to win. Whatever, whatever, whatever it costs, whatever we got to do to win. You know, that’s what that’s what ultimately would come down to. You know, if we make a run in the NCAA tournament, you know, we’ll just see. We’ll just see them. But, you know, as of right now, we’re just trying to, you know, focus on getting better and focus on, you know, a lot of defensive schemes and a lot of offensive stuff we got to work on. But as of right now, we’re just trying to, you know, get better each and every day,” Smith said.
Playing in Bud Walton Arena this year will also be extra special for Smith as a Jacksonville native.
However, he still can’t describe what it will be like when he takes the court for the season opener.
“I feel like when we come game time, I feel like everything is going to is going to hit me. You know, just looking back on, you know, just living with this day has done, you know, what Coach Moses done for this state and you know, what is what the state is? The state is proud of, you know, their their sport program, period. So, you know, just going out there and just playing in front of your home crowd, it’s definitely going to be a moment for me,” Smith said.
The Hogs take on North Dakota State on Monday to kick off the season.