Since basketball's 2022 class entered a contact period last week, the Michigan coaching staff has been active as any team in the country in reaching out to and offering new prospects. One player that the staff has had its eye on for quite some time is Dallas (Texas) St. Mark's four-star small forward Colin Smith, who is rates as the No. 58 player in the country by Rivals.com.
On Sunday, Michigan extended an offer to the rising wing player, and Wolverine Digest caught up with Smith to learn more about Michigan's newest offeree.
1. As a 6-8, 198-pound wing player, Smith has the ability to shoot from the perimeter or finish near the rim on offense but takes pride in his defensive ability too. Where do most colleges project the dynamic prospect at?
“More like the three,” Smith said. “Some, kind of like Michigan and Florida State, view me as a hybrid, like a big guard because I cause problems all over the floor. If you put a smaller guy on me, I will use that to my advantage. If you put a big guy on me, I can put the ball on the floor and go by him. I can guard one through four and sometimes five if the guy is not 7-foot. I have guarded guys that are 6-10, 6-11 before and held them down.”
2. Since the contact period opened up for 2022 prospects, Smith has heard from 25 to 30 different schools, and Michigan offered on Sunday. What is Juwan Howard's recruiting style like?
“He was one of the ones who said he would be calling, but he doesn't want to overdo it because he's been through that phase of it,” Smith said. “He was also the first one to kind of speak on the hybrid type player [description]. Like I said, most of the coaches saw me as a big guard who plays the three, and I would have the ball in my hand and what not and post up from time to time if I have mismatches. He spoke about the hybrid position and all that it entails, and that type of player would have a lot of playing time. I'm a player who takes a lot of pride in my defense, so whatever team or opponent we play, I always try to take on the top offensive performer and try to lock him up and help the team win. In doing so, a lot of coaches like that. I didn't know this, but a lot of kids don't take that pride in playing defense as much. They want to score a lot. I like to do a little bit of both.”
3. Throughout the recruiting process, Smith has already been on Michigan's campus a couple times. What is one takeaway that stood out to the four-star prospect?
“One of the visits I came for, the biggest thing speaking to coach was the tradition,” Smith said. “I forget the story, but he went to recruit a player from out of the country. Just how big the Michigan tradition was and how far it spreads, how big of a family it is and the rich tradition in basketball, academics and everything. With him being out of the country and him running into people out of the country wearing Michigan stuff that would say, 'Go Blue.'”
4. Smith has actually taken three visits to Ann Arbor already-- two of that were planned out and another of the unofficial variety. What were those trips like for the talented small forward prospect?
“My sister is a volleyball player, so we were in Michigan for her volleyball nationals, and we came in early just to take a look at the campus and see the facilities and watch the team practice back when I was going into my freshman year,” Smith said. “Coach Beilein was actually the coach at the time. They took real good care of us, and we took a real quick view of the facilities and all that. After that, that next summer which was after my freshman year, I came to the basketball camp. At that point in time, the new staff was there. They had actually seen me participate in the new thing the NCAA did last year, the NCAA Basketball Academy that they did. They knew of me. I think Coach Howard Eisley saw me play in there, and he was really impressed. He didn't know at the time, but we were signed up to come to the camp. I think it was that very next weekend after the NCAA Academy, so they got to see me live and in-person on campus. They showed us the entire campus when I came. Me and two other kids, they showed the entire campus. We were the only three that they had come early so they could do a tour of the campus with Coach Howard and Coach Eisley. We had a chance to ride with Coach Howard and get his knowledge of the university. Then we participated in the camp. We hung out a little while afterwards, my dad and I, with the staff. We came back to Texas, then we wanted to come and watch a game and just see what the atmosphere was like. We came back in February to watch them play Michigan State.”
5. Smith currently holds double digit offers, and programs such as Georgetown, Kansas, Texas and UCLA comprise that group alongside Michigan. During the period, Smith has had a chance to think about which schools he'd like to visit moving forward. Is Michigan on that list?
“There are some that we want to take a look at that we haven't had a chance to,” Smith said. “Actually, even though we've been there a couple times, Michigan is one because we want to see what it is like for the other sports, like football. When we came out the last time, they wanted us to come back and see what it would be like. The staff really likes when players come for the football season because they can spend more quality time with you, whereas in basketball they are scrambling, maybe having to go to another event or get prepared for the next game.
6. On the court, Smith is part of a loaded St. Marks team that also features five-star prospect Harrison Ingram. How did the 2019 season go for Smith from an individual perspective?
“I went from being as a freshman I was second on the team in scoring, and I really didn't have many responsibilities, not many plays called for me and I really didn't have to bring the ball up the court quite as much as a freshman,” Smith said. “So, I went out and played, and even as a freshman I had the toughest defensive assignments. I always had to guard the top perimeter player because of my footwork. This past year, I was asked to handle the ball more, which is something I had worked on. I spend a lot of time working on my ball handling, so that paid off prior to my sophomore year. So, I handled the ball more and did a lot more off the dribble than I did my freshman year.”
7. Last year, Smith averaged 21. 5 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals per game. Heading into the year, the recent Michigan offer recipient worked a lot on his handles and dribbling ability. What is the focus for Smith heading into this offseason.
“One thing my dad helps me with and a bunch of my trainers is focusing on knowing how to handle the ball with a smaller guard on me,” Smith said. “A lot of people look at me like a big guard, so I have been working on a lot of big guard movements and how to use my body to protect the ball against smaller guys and use my length to my advantage against those guys, along with doing a lot of finishes. Whether it be shots or dunks with my left hand, I'm jumping off of two feet in traffic. I'm a pretty versatile jumper, so I can jump off either one or two feet. I've been mixing it up, so it makes it harder for people to defend me.”
As for this coming season, Smith says that St. Mark's plays a difficult schedule, so he is eager to take on a crop of talented opponents with Ingram as the talented duo try to stake their claim as back-to-back state champions. From a developmental standpoint, Smith also wants to show what his future as a hybrid player on the wing could look like.
What do you think about Michigan's decision to offer top 100 player Colin Smith? How do you see him potentially fitting into the Michigan squad down the road? Will offering Smith help Michigan's chances with Ingram? Let us know!