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Tuesday / June 18.
  • Dennis Smith Says Louisville is Recruiting Him the Hardest

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    4_3067630By MATT JESSEN-HOWARD

    INDIANAPOLIS – At last weekend’s Adidas Gauntlet stop here, Dennis Smith impressed with his ability to both distribute and attack.

    The 6-foot-3 2016 lead guard from Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity Christian is leading Team Loaded North Carolina in points (17.3), the Adidas Gauntlet circuit in assists (6.9), and is one of the leading rebounders among guards in Gauntlet (4.8). It’s no surprise that Smith is ranked the top point guard by all four major recruiting networks.

    Smith holds offers from Duke, Florida, Florida State, Kansas, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, VCU, and Wake Forest, among others. Missing from that list is Louisville – who is actually the school the five star hears from the most.

    “Right now, I’d probably say Louisville is recruiting me the hardest,” he told “N.C. State, Duke, Carolina, Kansas, Wake Forest, and Florida are probably the other schools I’ve been hearing from the most. Providence has been hitting me up lately, too.”

    Louisville coach Rick Pitino is known for having highly talented and athletic guards, which appeals to Smith.

    “I think that any guard that watches them play would like their system,” he said. “I watched them at Carolina, and I saw how much freedom they gave Terry Rozier and Chris Jones. They’re basically pitching to me that I would have the same freedom there.”

    In addition to freedom as a lead guard, there are additional things that Smith is looking for in a program’s system.

    “A lot of pick and roll,” he said. “You know, I like to get to the hoop and the pick and roll is a great way to do that. Any system with a lot of guard play would be a good fit for me. Tempo matters to me, too. I don’t want to run a slow-paced, halfcourt game. I’m an athletic guy so I want to get up and down the floor as much as possible. I want to get out and run the break.”

    Two programs that most figure will be in the thick of Smith’s recruitment until the end are in-state schools NC State and Duke.

    “I grew up an N.C. State fan,” he said. “So when I was offered by them, I was definitely excited about it and so were my parents. They want me to come in and run the show. I watched them last year and I was kind of iffy on it, but then I watched them this year and I watched them this year and I was really impressed.

    “My interest in Duke is pretty similar with the other schools, to be honest. Tyus Jones leading them to a national championship was pretty neat, though. Duke usually has good point guard play.”

    Expect Smith to only consider programs where he’s built a tight-knit relationship with the program’s coaching staff.

    “I think the most important thing for me is relationships,” he said. “Whenever you go to a school, you’re basically asking the coach to be a father figure for a handful of years, so you definitely want to have a good relationship with the guy you’re going to be staying with.”


    (Connor Stevens contributed reporting.)


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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.

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