Tuesday, January 26News That Matters

High-5 senior Smith commits to Auburn, Pearl

5: 28 PM ET

  • Jeff Borzello


    ESPN Workers Author

    • Basketball recruiting insider.
    • Joined ESPN in 2014.
    • Graduate of College of Delaware.
  • Paul Biancardi


    Basketball Recruiting

    • National Recruiting Director for ESPN.com
    • 18 years of teaching journey at Division I level
    • Frail Horizon League coach of the year at Wright Assert

High-5 senior Jabari Smith dedicated to Auburn on Friday, giving the Tigers their highest-ranked recruit since on the least 2007.

Smith selected Bruce Pearl’s program out of a closing list that additionally incorporated Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Smith has spoken sooner than about going the G League route, but Auburn by some means won out.

“It’s a ways shut to dwelling, presumably an hour and 30 minutes remote from my apartment. Now no longer a ways at all,” Smith told ESPN. “Their form of play is free and instant. Auburn is well-known for their defense. Having fun with for Coach Pearl can assist me turn out to be a stronger two-plot participant. I spotted how worthy Coach Pearl loves his avid gamers.

“A few tall components in my decision were how worthy he has won on the highest level, competes for championships and how his avid gamers hang [gone] to the next level. With any luck we can lag succor to a Final Four and further. It’s the acceptable match for me.”

Smith, a 6-foot-8 vitality forward from Sandy Creek Excessive College (Georgia), is ranked No. 5 in the ESPN 100 for the 2021 class. He is the highest-ranked Auburn recruit for the rationale that ESPN recruiting database began in 2007, and the fourth 5-megastar prospect Pearl has landed since taking on the Tigers in 2014.

Smith averaged 24.5 device, 10.8 rebounds and just a few.8 blocks closing season for Sandy Creek, and additionally won a gold medal with USA Basketball on the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Brazil after averaging 13.8 device and 6.2 rebounds.

The final inside-out forward, Smith has a legitimate soar hook that he goes to on the left block to enact in the guts of the paint. His fluid stroke in the succor of the arc makes him a 3-level menace, and his riding, passing and scoring skill in the midrange predicament are evident. He is a more-than-staunch rebounder and would possibly perchance simply block photos. He is a simply mismatch who can be in a position to fetch contact better as his physique fills out.

Pearl continues to hang hundreds of success in the speak of Georgia, with Smith following ESPN 100 possibilities Sharife Cooper and J.T. Thor from the 2020 class and projected lottery snatch Isaac Okoro from the 2019 class as Auburn recruits from the Peach Assert.

Smith is the first Auburn commit in the 2021 class, however the Tigers are additionally in the mix for Trey Alexander, Moussa Diabate and others.

“My mind changed into made up so now would possibly perchance well be the acceptable time,” Smith mentioned. “This decision gets the everyday stress off and permits me to pay attention to my excessive college season and successful a speak championship.”

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