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Posted On: 04/28/18 5:00 AM
For a player without any offers yet, the opportunity to play in the EYBL means a lot. Nekhi Smith (2020) is now on a team that’s guaranteed to be watched by multiple coaches every time he steps on the floor. And the 6’5” wing/forward for All Ohio Red feels that he has something to prove.
“I just want people to know that I’m here. I’ve been under the radar for so long,” Smith said. “It’s up to me to prove myself, and it’s nothing going to be given to me.”
Smith has a lot of upside as a prospect. He’s a mismatch because of his combination of fluidity, size, and slashing ability. However, no college have offered quite yet, a source of frustration and motivation for the young man.
“I think I’m the only one on our team who doesn’t have an offer. So I know coaches will be in the building,” Smith said.
However, Division I programs have reached out to Smith, including a frequent line of communication between him and West Virginia.
“I’ve heard from West Virginia. Bob Huggins actually came up to our school this year during conditioning. He couldn’t talk to me. I was too young. But he talked to the coach. They actually liked me a lot,” Smith said.
Since that time early in the school year, Smith tells us that Huggins has kept tabs on him by talking to his mom and various coaches.
Meanwhile, Smith has also been inquired about by other Midwest D-Is.
“I haven’t specifically heard from any coaches. But I’ve head that my coaches have heard from a lot of people,” Smith said. “Like, Sean Miller, Chris Mack. I know Valparaiso at one point in time, I haven’t heard from them in a while. Toledo has been sending me a lot of mail lately.”
Smith will try to identify a school with a winning program down the line. He’d also like to stay close to home, but not actually in-state unless Ohio State were to offer.
Before that day comes, Smith needs to figure out where he’s finishing up his high school career. He’s officially moving on from Shroder after this season. The quest for a new high school spands from Cincinnati to Columbus, where he’s originally from.
“I am transferring from Shroder. It’s not really a secret. Everyone knows I’m leaving Shroder. Right now, I don’t really have a designated school. I don’t know where I want to be at. I just want to be part of a winning program,” Smith said.
As mentioned, Smith could wind up at any number of schools in either Cincinnati or Columbus for his upperclassman years.
Both at the college and high school level, teams are adding a tough player who thrives either forward spot. Adding a more consistent jumper and ball-handling ability would push him to a new level, but Smith is already very productive as a slasher and rebounder.
For All Ohio Red currently, Smith is “a piece to the puzzle.”
“This summer, I feel like my biggest strength has been my toughness. I feel like every time the coach has called me off the bench, I’ve been the guy to do the dirty work. If we need a rebound, I’m that guy,” Smith said.
Going forward, Smith is also focused on raising his 2.3 GPA and would like to attend a high school with good academics next year.