On Monday evening, major 2017 prospect Justin Smith officially cut his list of suitors to a list of seven schools and the Big Ten was fortunate enough to make the cut. In total, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin were all listed by the small forward.
Along with the four Big Ten schools, Smith listed a variety of schools, including one well outside of the midwest. These schools were Stanford, Villanova, and Xavier. Currently, Illinois and Stanford both sit at 50 percent in the Crystal Ball picks.
I'd like to thank all the coaches who have recruited me thus far. These are my final schools in no particular order! pic.twitter.com/NfcXGkGLVt— Justin Smith (@justinsmith3_) August 2, 2016
Smith might not be in the same group as some of the nation’s elite prospects, but he’s a highly regarded recruit in his own right. In fact, 247Sports rates Smith as a four-star recruit, the No. 67 player overall in 2017, and the No. 4 player in Illinois. The recruiting service also has him listed at 6-foot-7 and 185 pounds.
As mentioned, Smith probably isn’t a prospect that can completely change a team or program with his addition. Nonetheless, he’s a player that could still work into a starting lineup early on in his career and become a major contributor in the Big Ten by the time he departs.
Where Smith would fit in on each respective Big Ten team is a bit unclear at this point. Both Illinois and Michigan have major needs on the wing, but each is also still in on elite wing Kris Wilkes. Along with that, Indiana is still in on a variety of wing prospects for 2017 and Wisconsin does have most of its spots filled.
If Smith wanted to commit, it’s hard to imagine any of these teams turning away the commitment, but this could be something to watch in the coming months.
Whether a Big Ten school can reel in the Illinois wing remains to be seen, but as things currently sit, it looks like the conference could be in position to land another big target in the coming months.