Freshman guard Zhaire Smith has a huge decision ahead of him.
Smith declared early for the NBA Draft to gauge where he stands among other prospects. He didn’t sign with an agent, however, leaving the door open for his return to Lubbock, Texas, if he so chooses.
The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie thinks Smith made a good choice testing the waters. Smith has little pressure in his upcoming workouts with Texas Tech as a fallback plan, and one more year under coach Chris Beard isn’t a bad consolation prize.
The star freshman will eventually get his shot at the NBA. It just might not come this summer.
Because of that, I think Smith is making the right call testing his stock before committing to the draft. If he goes in and bombs a few workouts while still ironing out his shot mechanics, it could really torpedo him. But if goes into the process working hard, improves his jump shot over the next 40 days, it’s possible he could climb into the top 20 and end up being forced to move on.
Texas Tech’s deep March Madness run couldn’t have went better for Smith.
He shot a blistering 55.6 percent from three-point range in the NCAA Tournament. One of his more memorable performances came against Florida in the Round of 32 when he scored 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
Where Smith stands
Smith projects as a first-round selection on several mock drafts, and his added exposure from the NCAA Tournament surely helped teams to learn more about his game.
Smith has until June 11 to decide whether he’ll officially go pro or return to school.
The 2018 NBA Draft begins June 21.