"He's the best player on the best team in the country" - ESPN draft expert on the rising stock of NCAA basketball star, calls him an "elite shooter"

Auburn Tigers freshman Jabari Smith Jr.
Auburn Tigers freshman Jabari Smith Jr.
Tyler Rucker

Jabari Smith Jr. and the Auburn Tigers have taken college basketball by storm. Since entering the season ranked 22nd, the Tigers have transformed into a legit title contender, rising to the No. 1 ranking, and look poised to make a serious run in the NCAA tournament.

No Auburn player has been as impressive as Smith.

The 6-foot-10 freshman forward has been a force and has become a candidate to be selected first in the upcoming NBA draft. Smith has dazzled fans with his versatility on both sides of the floor and has become one of the most dangerous players in college.

While speaking during Auburn's 100-81 victory over the rival Alabama Crimson Tide on Tuesday, ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz gave Smith a ringing endorsement, calling him the best player in the country and "an elite shooter."

"He's the best player on the best team in the country," Schmitz said.
Joined the great @MartySmithESPN down the stretch of Auburn-Alabama to dive into what makes Jabari Smith a potential top pick and to break down some of the 6-10 forward’s best possessions from tonight.

Could Jabari Smith Jr. become the top pick in the 2022 NBA draft?

Auburn Tigers freshman Jabari Smith Jr. has the basketball world buzzing
Auburn Tigers freshman Jabari Smith Jr. has the basketball world buzzing

Heading into the season, the expectation was that Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren and Duke's Paolo Banchero would be the runaway favorites to be selected as the top two in the 2022 NBA draft. But after an impressive stretch of performances from Auburn Tigers freshman Jabari Smith Jr., that conversation has expanded into a larger debate.

The 6-foot-10 freshman came into the year as a potential offensive weapon with his ability to space the floor. Smith has done that and more as he's also become one of the most versatile defensive players in the country.

6’10” guard. Jabari Smith is the future.

With March Madness approaching, the top-ranked Tigers (21-1, 9-0 Southeastern Conference) are the team to beat in college basketball.

While fans continue to be excited about the elite talents of Holmgren and Banchero, Smith has quickly cemented himself as a player deserving of being the first name called in the draft.

Smith is averaging 15.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 44.0%, including 40.5% from 3-point range.

Smith had 17 points Tuesday night as Auburn extended the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games.

The Tigers have not lost in regulation or in the United States. Their only loss was to Connecticut 115-109 in double overtime Nov. 24 in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. UConn (15-4) is ranked 17th.

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein


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