Reports out of Edwardsville, Illinois indicate that 2017 four-star guard and Illinois Mr. Basketball Mark Smith will take one more visit during the spring recruiting period.
Recruitment for the 6’5” guard has blown up over the past couple weeks as teams look to add finishing touches to their 2017 recruiting class.
Just last weekend Smith received in-person visits from coaches Tom Izzo, Brad Underwood, Cuonzo Martin and John Calipari. Kentucky offered on their visit and Smith also had time to travel to East Lansing to record his official visit.
Michigan State has made Smith their top priority this spring. The Spartans already have the makings of a top-20 recruiting class, but want to balance it out by adding perimeter depth and skill. Smith is exactly the type of talented multi-year player Izzo thrives on. It would be a huge get for the program.
It appears the Spartans are in good position. According to 247sports, Michigan State is seen as the leader in Smith’s recruitment. However, the fact that Smith is looking to take another visit could indicate that he is keeping his options open.
A visit to Kentucky would be a huge development. The Wildcats came in late to Smith’s recruitment, but are now putting on the full-court press. Kentucky already has two point guards in the 2017 class, five-star Quade Green and four-star Shai Alexander, but Smith is most likely not a one-and-done type player. His presence over a three-to-four year career would be a stabilizing force with the many single-year players that will inevitably cycle through Kentucky over the next couple years.
Ohio State getting a visit and possible commitment from Smith would be an absolute coup for the Buckeye program. Thad Matta needs some recruiting momentum after another spring marred by transfers. The current 2017 class is ranked 10th in the Big Ten, according to 247sports. An addition of Smith would be a welcomed jolt of energy into a program trying to regain its footing.
For Illinois, not receiving a visit probably means they aren’t getting Smith. Coach Underwood had to do some catch-up here after John Groce was let go, but it looks like Smith is going in a different direction. It’s tough for Illinois to lose Jeremiah Tilmon and miss on a home state Mr. Basketball, but brighter days are coming for the program.
As Smith’s recruitment comes to a conclusion, stay tuned to BTPowerhouse for all updates.