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"The best jump-shooting big in college basketball" – NCAA star Jabari Smith gets high praise from Auburn coach Bruce Pearl

Auburn freshman forward Jabari Smith Jr. continues to impress
Auburn freshman forward Jabari Smith Jr. continues to impress
Tyler Rucker
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Auburn freshman Jabari Smith Jr. has been a phenom this season, as the 18-year-old forward has excelled on both sides of the floor.

Smith entered the season as a prospect expected to make an impact with his upside as a floor spacer. Pairing an intriguing amount of athleticism with his 6-foot-10 frame, the idea was that the lengthy forward could give Auburn a dangerous weapon on offense.

That was until Smith started to take over games and arose as one of the hottest names in college basketball. Since coming into the season as a potential top-five selection in the 2022 draft, Smith has impressed enough that he could end up as the first overall selection.

In an interview with Seth Davis of The Athletic, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl gave his freshman a ringing endorsement, especially praising Smith's ability as a shooter:

"The best jump shooting big in college basketball."

Smith has become one of the most dangerous threats in college basketball, as he possesses the ability to score from all levels.

Pearl glowed about his talented forward, especially in how the 18-year-old carries himself on and off the court:

“I didn’t anticipate how tough he was, how hard he works, how good a teammate he is. The way he shoots is not something you’re born with. That comes from hours in the gym.”
Jabari Smith Jr. has been much better than Bruce Pearl expected.“I didn’t anticipate how tough he was, how hard he works, how good a teammate he is.”@SethDavisHoops on Auburn’s rise: theathletic.com/3073787/?sourc… https://t.co/9geGKJ1aHb

Jabari Smith Jr. impresses in college basketball

Auburn freshman forward Jabari Smith Jr. has impressed.
Auburn freshman forward Jabari Smith Jr. has impressed.

It didn't take long before fans were captivated by the play of Auburn freshman forward Jabari Smith Jr. The versatile forward has been sensational offensively, but has been a disruptive force with his defensive ability as well. Smith has led Auburn to a 16-1 record and a ranking as the No. 2 team in the country.

Jabari Smith has an ELITE skill set @jabarismithll Wouldn't be surprised to see him in the conversation for the No. 1 pick by the end of the season. https://t.co/aeyxB1YHrD

NBA personnel will continue to watch Smith through the remainder of the season, as he is making the case to be one of the top selections in the draft. Smith is averaging 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 44.7% (including 45.8% from 3-point range).

Smith is the son of LSU standout Jabari Smith, a 6-11 center. The elder Smith was selected with the 45th overall pick in the 2000 draft by the Sacramento Kings. A journeyman in the NBA, he played 108 games (with two starts) in four seasons. He also played professionally overseas. His cousin, Kwame Brown, was the No. 1 pick in the 2001 draft.


Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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