As a high-profile basketball prospect since the day he entered high school as a freshman, Stevenson’s Justin Smith maintained that high-profile status throughout his prep career. As a result, high-profile college programs courted him to the end.
But from a lengthy list of high-major suitors, including defending national champ Villanova and Wisconsin, Smith ended his recruitment with a commitment to Indiana and coach Tom Crean Monday night.
“They [Indiana] are getting what they feel is the prototype wing who is long and athletic,” says Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose. “And Justin was very impressed with how they’ve developed wings over the last several years.”
An explosive athlete off the floor at 6-7, Smith continues to diversify his game and polish up his improving perimeter skills. Smith’s jumper out to the three-point line has become a bigger part of his arsenal, while he also has become more assertive with his game and consistent in his production.
This past season Smith averaged 17 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, continuing to show growth as a player and prospect.
“He’s come pretty far,” Ambrose says of Smith’s development as a player. “He’s come a long way fundamentally as well as with understanding team needs and even game wise. He still has a ways to go in those areas to be college ready, but you can say that about most kids at this stage.”
Smith has been an integral part of a program that has won 86 games in his three years at Stevenson, including a state championship during his sophomore season. Now he begins his senior year as a bonafide go-to player and the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s No. 3 prospect in the Class of 2017 in Illinois.
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