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Elite 2022 Shooting Guard Nick Smith Jr. Commits to Arkansas

Smith was one of the most dominant players in the country this summer in the Nike EYBL.

Nick Smith Jr. had purposed in his mind that he’d remain open throughout the recruitment process, so when he took his official visit to Arkansas earlier this month, Smith legitimately had no idea where he’d ultimately commit.

Still, in retrospect, it was the short trip to Fayetteville, Ark., that prompted him to pick the Razorbacks over Auburn, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Alabama.

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“There was a lot of love on that visit,” Smith said. “But it was really just the constant conversations I had with Coach (Eric) Muss about getting to the NBA. His goal is to prepare me for that move from day one and he’s dedicated to that. That really stuck out to me.”

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Smith’s hometown and high school, North Little Rock, are just a few hours away from his future campus, a detail that helped Arkansas sell the NIL possibilities with him being a homegrown talent.

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Still, Smith said proximity didn’t factor in.

“My dad and mom, it was a no-brainer for them,” Smith said. “I just wanted to make sure, but Arkansas was the best opportunity for me.”

This summer, Smith dominated on the Nike EYBL, averaging 22 points, five rebounds and four assists a game for Brad Beal Elite (Mo.). His best game was in the Nike Peach Jam title game, an efficient 31-point (10 of 18 from the field) in a loss to Team Final (Penn.).

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Smith posted those numbers despite playing with a broken wrist and a strained hamstring.

That kind of production prompted Musselman to sell Smith on the coveted greenlight next season.

“I’ve been talking to Coach Muss, and he’s always told me that he wants to put the ball in my hands from day one,” Smith said. “They want me to come down there and be me. They want me to be a leader and they want me to score. Like I said, it was the perfect opportunity for me in the end.”