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It was as a junior at Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Georgia that Jabari Smith, Jr. first burst on the radar as a potential future NBA lottery selection.

Thursday night that radar screen lit up at full force as Smith was selected by the Houston Rockets with the third pick in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft, after just one season of college basketball.

Looking back, Smith shot to the top of his recruiting class during that junior year with the Patriots as he netted 25.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. With offers pouring in, he did not let up during his senior campaign, scoring 23.4 points per game, to go with 9.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.5 blocks, in leading Sandy Creek to the Class 3A state title game.

The 6-foot-10, 220-pound 5 Star recruit ultimately chose to sign with Auburn University, becoming the the Tigers highest rated recruit of all time. Before arriving in the SEC, he won a Gold Medal with Team USA at the FIBA U16 America’s Championship, contributing 13.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. He also was a finalist for Naismith High School Boys Player of the Year Award.

During is freshman campaign at Auburn, he averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He was considered the most versatile big man at the top of the draft, who is an inside-out option capable of defending positions 1-through-5.