Jalen Smith living up to his top billing


Ari Rosenfeld (@realA_rosenfeld)

The talk of camp thus far has been about the laundry list of high-level big men, as almost every game set has featured at least one matchup of two top young posts.

No such matchup was as hyped as that between Smith and fellow 2018 superstar Silvio De Sousa, pitting two ESPN 25 players against each other, with both players guarding one another to boot.

While Smith was on the receiving end of a posterizing dunk that made the Sportscenter Top 10, he put together a great all-around performance against De Sousa, flushing a couple putback dunks of his own and even more impressively, displaying a fluid shooting stroke with legitimate three-point range.

And most importantly, his team overcame the momentum that De Sousa’s slam provided the opposition in order to gut out a victory.

“It’s been good overall, even though I just got dunked on. Everybody gets dunked on. I still kept my composure and was able to finish the game out,” Smith said after the game. “I was trying my best to keep [De Sousa] out of the paint. I knew that he wasn’t a very good shooter, so I left him outside shooting a lot. For myself, I just wanted to do what I could do best to help my team win.”

Smith’s 6-foot-8 frame and incredible length have long made him a force on the inside, the newfound confidence he has in his jumper has Smith looking like a true inside-outside threat, who may even be able to transition to the wing full time– he mentioned that he sees himself potentially playing small forward at the next level.

“I’ve just been working on it a lot. It’s just started coming recently,” he said of his outside shot. “It’s helped me a lot, because I’m able to bring people that’s more dominant in the paint on defense outside where they’re not really comfortable.

“I’m able to post up and play out on the wing,” he added. “That could be helpful to a lot of colleges in the future.”

Said colleges are already beginning to swoon over Smith’s skillset and enormous long term potential, as he’s raked in offers from Providence, Miami, and Marquette in the last three weeks. Smith also claims interest from Kentucky, Arizona, Michigan State, Richmond, and Maryland, with plans to visit Kentucky and Arizona at some point in the fall.

“It was exciting because I never really knew that high-major coaches were watching me,” he said of earning his first offers. “It’s gonna make me hungrier, just to get even more.”

Thus far, Smith has been one of the main attractions all week at Future All-American, but paramount to that is the fact that he’s used the opportunity to work on his game and prepare to make an impact for his Mount St. Joseph’s team this upcoming season.

“Overall I think the camp is helpful,” Smith said. “It’s helping me hone in on my skills, helping me work more on my outside game.”

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