Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Ray Smith Has ‘Awesome’ UConn Visit; Kentucky Reaches Out as List Fluctuates
Ray Smith, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Las Vegas High, had an “awesome” visit to UConn last week and is now planning several future trips, including potentially one to Kentucky.
“UConn was awesome, man,” Bobby Smith, Ray’s father, told SNY.tv Tuesday by phone. “[Coach] Kevin Ollie’s a great guy. We were actually at UConn watching when Shabazz [Napier] got drafted, it was kind of cool. Great program, all the way around. I like UConn.”
Ray also said he enjoyed the visit.
“It was nice, it was a nice campus, nice little environment,” he said. “They showed me the facilities and all those things, so it was nice going to UConn.”
Smith recently cut his list for a second time to include Arizona, Arizona State, Texas, UConn, Georgetown, Louisville, UCLA, USC and Cal. (He then added UConn.)
But his father said that will change again, and probably more than once, with Kentucky now in the mix.
“It’s going to be a fluctuating list,” Bobby Smith said.
The elder Smith said Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne reached out Tuesday to see if they could still get involved.
“They’re interested in him,” Smith said. “They want to know if it’s too late to get involved and that type of thing.”
Asked what he said in response, Bobby said, “Recruit him. It’s never too late until the decision is made.”
Bobby said Ray will take an official to Louisville in late September (Sept. 26 weekend) and that he might visit Kentucky then, too.
“Oh, definitely,” he said. “If we’re in Louisville we might as well, it’s right down the street. We will definitely try to get both of those guys near the same time.”
Smith said other schools are checking in about visits in August, including Arizona (for a second time), Arizona State, Texas and UCLA, with the UCLA visit coming in the first or second weekend of August.
“It will have to be in August because you can’t take visits in July,” Bobby said of the trips.
As for a commitment timeframe, Smith wants to commit in the fall.
“Definitely before that first signing period,” his father said. “We want him to be signed, sealed and delivered when the season starts.”
Before now and then, expect Ray Smith’s visit to change a few more times.
“It’s already probably changing now,” his dad said.
Down the road, Bobby said Ray hopes to play in the NBA.
“My son’s dream is to go to the NBA,” he said.
“I was looking at the draft and kind of saying, ‘Who does Ray compare to?’ I couldn’t find anybody completely that you could say, ‘OK, he’s like him.’ …He’s maybe a little Nik Stauskas, maybe a little Jabari [Parker], a big wing who can do a lot. So I know he has some value because he can do a lot of things. Of course he has to get a lot better, I’m not unrealistic.
“But we want to pick a program that can develop him into what his dreams are, and then it will just be up to him whether he makes it or not.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.