Buzz Williams and Marquette received some great news at the end of Wednesday night’s early signing period, as Illinois point guard Reggie Smith signed his letter of intent to play for the Golden Eagles. The signing came unexpectedly to most, despite Marquette’s involvement with Smith in the recruiting process.
The 6′1″ point guard seems to fit the mold exactly for what Williams is looking in a point guard. Smith’s speed sets him apart and his ability to play in transition will get him on the court sooner than later. In terms of offensive sets, Smith lives off driving to the basket to get his shots. He is still raw and has to work better at getting his teammates the ball off the dribble, but the talent is there for him to do that.
If you were on the fence on whether or not to go to Marquette Madness in 2010, Smith’s signing alone should push you over the edge. Why? Smith is one of the best dunkers in the 2010 class and has a knack to flush it home when he gets to the rim. He takes his fair share of layups, but any chance he gets to throw one down, he does.
Defensively, Smith has good size for a point guard “6′1″, 175 lbs.) and uses it very well against defenders. A high-end motor keeps him on his man and he has room to grow with the speed that he has. That energy will get him on the court and if he continues to work hard, he could be a steal.
Overall, Smith’s game is very raw and he needs to hone in his athleticism. Sometimes Smith’s athleticism gets him in trouble by playing out of control and trying to force things. As he slows down his game and becomes more of a true point guard, his natural position, his value will become even greater.
If it’s not too bold to say, Smith looks a lot like Dominic James with his athleticism and ability to drive. Like James, Smith can struggle with his outside shot at times but the talent and potential is there for him to improve on that part of his game.
Smith will play his senior year for Thornton High School in Harvey, IL. His AAU team, Mac Irvin Fire, was considered one of the best in Illinois last year with Smith and University of Illinois recruits Crandall Head and Jerome Richmond.
Looking to the 2010 back court, Smith is a great compliment to red-shirted freshman Junior Cadougan. More of a pass-first point guard, Cadougan will rotate with Smith at the point guard spot and create a great mismatch with the two different styles of play.
The signing of Smith most likely moves 2010 recruit Vander Blue to shooting guard, although his versatility will also allow him to handle the ball.
Ranked 105th according to Rivals.com and the 35th-best point guard according to Scout.com, Smith isn’t a top-tier recruit that pushes Marquette’s recruiting class into the top five for 2010.
However, another top-100 recruit that has the potential to blossom as he molds into a point guard is exactly what Williams was looking for to fill one of the two roster spots for next year. As usual, Williams and the Marquette staff semi-flew under the radar with the recruiting of Smith as many expected he was leaning towards USC.
After losing out on power forward Tarik Black, who ended up at Memphis, it was good to see Buzz and the staff pull out a third recruit before the early signing period was over.
With one scholarship remaining, expect Williams the Marquette staff to go hard after a big man to solidify their 2010 class. Rumors of a junior college forward have circulated to balance out the class and avoid having four freshman on the roster.
Buzz Williams has shown again that he is a great recruiter that can bring in top-100 talent and has done it again for 2010.
Last season it was easier for Buzz to bring in the talent that he did because he had so much playing time to offer, but now the recruits are coming in packs and giving great depth to a Marquette team that should compete for a Big East title in the next couple of years.