All aboard the Marquette men’s basketball recruiting news update train, as we’ve got a new scholarship offer to discuss. This time, it’s Class of 2022 forward Jai Smith announcing on Friday night that he has picked up an official offer from head coach Steve Wojciechowski.
I am blessed and excited to say that I’ve received an offer from the University of Marquette. pic.twitter.com/j6HZPHQxcK— Jai Smith (@jai_smith131) October 10, 2020
As always, the house policy of Anonymous Eagle is to ignore the fact that the prospect in question said “the University of Marquette” and just move on with our lives as if nothing out of the ordinary happened.
247 Sports says that Smith is a 6’9”, 235 pound power forward in the Class of 2022. He’s attending Bull City Prep in North Carolina right now. This is after a year at St. Thomas More in Connecticut and then a year at Bishop Ludden in Syracuse before that. It’s worth noting that Smith has reclassified into the Class of 2022, but according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal in that last link, there’s a possibility that he could end up going back to the Class of 2021 where he started out. Confused yet?
He’s currently ranked #161 in the country by the 247 Sports Composite system. That’s his best ranking after debuting at #198 in July. He’s the #31 power forward in the country and the #3 prospect in the state of North Carolina. If you go to his 247 Sports page right now, it says he’s the #3 prospect in New York, which is very confusing because 1) he hasn’t been attending school in New York since two years ago but 2) he was apparently born in Syracuse, and 3) even if he was a New York prospect, #161 in the country would actually make him the #4 prospect in the state.
This is not the easiest to follow scholarship offer article that I have ever written for this website.
I’m not clear on when exactly Smith reclassified to 2022, so take that into account when I give you this list of high major offers, per 247: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia Tech, Houston, Memphis, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon State, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Texas A&M, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and Xavier. Smith’s own Twitter page has a pinned tweet from May of this year highlighting Arizona, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech, Oregon State, and Rutgers along with Maryland, Syracuse, UConn, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Saint Louis, Siena, and San Diego State. I’m not sure which offers are contingent on Smith being a Class of 2022 prospect, but that’s still a metric ton of high major interest in the young man. It makes a whole bunch of sense when you read this part of an article from Spectrum News in Central New York that was published in late August:
Smith, who’s a big fan of the spicy chicken sandwich at Chick Fil A, says leaving Ludden wasn’t easy but it was also necessary for his growth as a basketball player. He’s transitioned from a 6’5” inside player to a 6’10” (and growing) perimeter player, and if he can continue to hone those ball skills, the sky is, literally, the limit.
“If I can convert into one of those Ben Simmons-type players, that would definitely make me different, set me apart, and elevate me to where I need to be.”
I was impressed with him when I thought he was the same size as Theo John was as a freshman at Marquette. If he’s Theo John’s size but plays on the perimeter? WHOOO.
After some creative interneting, I tracked down this article from 247’s West Virginia-centric site, which says that Smith averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists for St. Thomas More last season. It doesn’t credit that stat anywhere backwards, though, so we just have to take it on faith. Still, if it’s true, the 10 and 5 at the back end certainly lends itself towards suggesting that the perimeter play aspect of his game is legitimate.
I’ve got two videos for you. Here’s two minutes from June 2019:
And just over two minutes from August 2020:
Onwards to the scholarship chart......
Okay, so Jai Smith is currently a 2022 prospect. Here’s what we know for sure about the 2022 recruiting class: Greg Elliott is the only senior scheduled to come off the books. That’s it. How Marquette addresses the 2021 recruiting class will massively affect the 2022 class. Right now, head coach Steve Wojciechowski has commitments from Kameron Jones and Stevie Mitchell for 2021, but it looks like there will be three open scholarships for the fall of 2021. How many of them are getting filled? The ones that don’t will roll over to 2022, and until we know for sure what 2021 looks like, we can’t really say what MU’s priorities need to be.
And then there’s the question of whether or not Marquette is looking at having Smith reclassify to 2021. They obviously have the space. You can’t go wrong with mobile guys over 6’7”, even with Dawson Garcia, Oso Ighodaro, and Justin Lewis on the roster. You always want to recruit the most talented very tall guys that you can find and then figure things out from there. If Smith ends up in 2021, then the priority for 2022 is definitely guards, as that will be the senior year for D.J. Carton, Jose Perez, and Symir Torrence.
If you find yourself with questions here, well, that’s what the comments section is for.