By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
There’s no question who is priority number one in Will Wade’s first full recruiting class at LSU, and the Tigers got good news from him on Tuesday.
LSU landed among the final six schools from which five-star point guard Javonte Smart will make his collegiate selection, the Baton Rouge product announced on Twitter.
— Javonte Smart (@JavonteSmart) May 16, 2017
Smart, the two-time Gatorade Player of the Year at Scotlandville High School, is a consensus top 25 national prospect and top five point guard who included LSU with Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma State, UCLA, and Florida State.
“It’s the home school,” Smart told Scout.com of LSU. They are pretty good and they are in the SEC. So it’s so close it’s a good thing… “I’ve talked to [Will Wade] a few times. He’s young and a hard worker.”
ESPN ranks Smart the No. 24 prospect overall in 2018 and the No. 5 point guard. Scout rates him as the No. 1 point guard in the country and the No. 9 overall prospect, while Rivals has Smart as the No. 11 prospect and the third-ranked guard in his class.
The back-to-back winner of the Division 1 title game MVP, Smart led Scotlandville to a 31-4 record as a junior, averaging 25.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He’s scored more than 2,200 points in his varsity career so far.
More of a scorer for his high school team, Smart has assumed a facilitator’s role with Houston Hoops on the Nike EBYL Tour, averaging 13 points and 5 assists per game. His 28.2% assist rate is among the best on the circuit, according to Open Look Analytics, and he pairs it with a solid 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio. His best game was a 33-point effort against Cal Supreme Elite, led by Shareef O’Neal, an Arizona commit and the son of LSU legend Shaquille O’Neal.
A 6-foot-4 combo guard, Smart has the skill of Kyrie Irving and the frame of John Wall. He uses advanced footwork to create space in the paint, while taking advantage of his size and strength to finish above and through bigger defenders in traffic. He’s quick, but plays the game at his own, methodical pace, lulling defenders to sleep with change of speed and direction rather than raw agility.
Wade made Smart a priority as soon as he was hired to take over for Johnny Jones. He made the 15 minute drive from LSU to Scotlandville the first day of open evaluations and emphasized to Smart he was the priority in Wade’s first full recruiting cycle.
Should Smart’s ultimately pick LSU, he will be the highest-rated player LSU has signed since Ben Simmons in 2015 and the highest-rated player from Louisiana to play for LSU since Brandon Bass signed in 2005 as the No. 11 player in the country, according to Rivals.com. Glen Davis and Jarell Martin both finished ranked No. 13 in their respective classes, while Tasmin Mitchell was ranked No. 20 in 2006.