Kenwood senior Jaden Smith picks Arizona State

Chicago
By Chicago 3 Min Read

If the goal in recruiting is landing a prospect whose progression indicates the arrow is pointing straight up in his development, then Arizona State and coach Bobby Hurley won on Friday. 

Late-blooming Kenwood big man Jaden Smith committed to the Sun Devils after seeing his recruiting heat up over the past few months. 

Due to his early size and potential, Smith was always a prospect who had eyes on him since the day he entered Lincoln Park as a freshman. He transferred to Kenwood for his sophomore season and has battled the typical big man inconsistencies during his development. 

However, it all started to come together this past summer. The confidence, assertiveness and production all improved for the 5-man who is 6-11 and filling out physically.

As a result, a couple of locals, DePaul and Loyola, along with Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech, dove heavily into this recruitment.

“At first it was a little slow,” Smith said of his recruitment. “But it eventually came and I enjoyed it, getting to know the different coaches and schools.”

But it was Arizona State that pulled away from the pack in recent weeks. 

There were some heart-to-heart talks with Hurley, who begins his ninth season at Arizona State. 

“My conversations with him when I met with him, when he came to my open gyms, he was able to show me the plan he has for me,” Smith said. “He’s a legendary name and coach.”

Former Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin, the brother of Kenwood coach Nick Irvin, is now a special assistant to Hurley. That connection played a role in the process. 

“Being from Chicago and knowing him like I do, there is a trust with him,” Smith said of his relationship with Irvin. “He’s a great coach but more importantly he’s a great person.”

Then the official visit earlier this month sealed the deal. That’s when Smith started to truly feel he knew where he was headed. He was able to see all that the school and program had to offer. 

“They show there, I think, what it’s like to play at the next level with their player development,” Smith said. “I was able to see how they invest in you as a player, how they use their bigs and their style of play. 

“The educational side of if fit, and it’s a beautiful area and a great, modern campus.”

Smith is a huge talent with untapped potential who is still in the process of maturing, both physically and with his game. He was a defensive menace this past summer, blocking and altering shots. Smith fits the bill as the coveted rim-running, shot-blocking big who showcases touch and an improved skill set and footwork.

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