basketball Edit

Three-Point Play: Nick Smith, Tamar Bates, Arkansas

Where has top-50 2022 guard Nick Smith been on campus and how will he approach his recruitment? Who made the cut for four-star senior Tamar Bates? Plus, how big of a blow is Isaiah Joe’s reversal on the NBA Draft to Arkansas? All in today’s Three-Point-Play.

Starting Five: Bradley Beal Elite Challenge, more impact decisions coming

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Position

2022 Rankings: Top 75


Nick Smith
Nick Smith

As he readies for his junior year, top-50 point guard Nick Smith has been eager to get back on the court. That’s why the four-star from Sherwood (Ark.) Sylvan Hills was happy to get on the road and make his way to Belleville, Ill., on the outskirts of St. Louis to play in the Bradley Beal Challenge.

“I think it was a good experience,” said Smith. “A lot of people have been begging to play basketball for a long time. It feels good coming back out here.”

Now standing 6-foot-4, Smith has added some needed muscle to his wiry frame and it has helped him with his attacks to the rim. He’s a creative scorer but he was asked to “chill out on the scoring and see what I can do playmaking wise” over the weekend and he responded quite well, showing impressive vision as a passer.

On the recruiting front, Smith already holds offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Florida, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, St. John’s, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa and others. So far, he has seen Auburn and Arkansas in person. He discussed each.

Auburn: “It was cool. The student body was amazing. I don’t think anybody has more student support than them. It was a great experience. I also got the chance to talk to the coaching staff. Coach (Bruce) Pearl, coach (Wes) Flanigan and all of them. So that was good.”

Arkansas: “They are just telling me how the system is right now. This will only be their second year so they are trying to get the system to work. I know they are going to recruit local players hard and they are really good at recruiting so hopefully it works out.”

Don’t look for a quick decision out of Smith. Don’t look for him to discuss his recruitment much publicly, either.

“All of that stuff I try to keep private,” said Smith of how he will handle his recruitment. “I don’t really think about the recruiting stuff too much. It is good that schools are recruiting me, but at the same time I’m only going to be a junior. Around my senior year I’ll make that decision.”


Tamar Bates
Tamar Bates

On Aug. 28, four-star shooting guard Tamar Bates will leave Kansas City to spend his senior season at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy.

Before heading to IMG, though, the 6-foot-5 scorer decided to cut his list down and he’s got a final seven of Alabama, Creighton, Iowa State, Kansas, Missouri, Oregon and Texas.

Initially, Bates had planned to wait until the spring to make his decision. I asked him if that is still the case?

“I want to sign in the early period in November, so (I’ll) look to commit before then,” said Bates.

Given that Bates is moving up his timeline and that the status of when he may or may not be able to take visits is up in the air, his early visits to Creighton, Kansas and Missouri could be very helpful to them. The Jayhawks currently lead in Futurecast, but as I've written before, the Bates recruitment is tough to read and he's not somebody that should be considered a lock for any one school over another as the field playing field is pretty even for him.


Isaiah Joe
Isaiah Joe (AP Images)

So much for Isaiah Joe coming back for his junior season at Arkansas.

After announcing prior to the NCAA’s deadline for withdrawal from the NBA Draft that he would return to Fayetteville, the sharpshooting two guard reversed field on Monday, announcing that due to the uncertainty in college sports, he’ll go ahead and enter the draft.

Losing one of the top returning scorers in the SEC and a guy who made 207 threes over the last two seasons isn’t ideal for Eric Musselman and the Razorbacks, but their 2020 recruiting should help them withstand it. They have long been high on incoming wing Moses Moody and the departure of Joe gives Moody more opportunity to play big minutes and show what he can do.

Also, the addition of grad transfer wing Jalen Tate is looking even more important at this point. Again, losing Joe after the excitement of him saying he would return isn’t ideal. But, they should be in position to handle his decision.