Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Greg Smith now says he's heading to Fresno State

Jerry Meyers of Rivals is reporting that California big man Greg Smith has changed his mind about signing with Arizona and is now committed to Fresno State. Go here for the article -- a Rivals subscription is required.

Not being any sort of a basketball talent evaluator, nor having played such a role on television, we still offer this take on Smith's situation.

With that proviso in mind, Smith certainly fills a gaping need for Coach Steve Cleveland and possesses the best potential of anyone on the current Bulldog front court roster.

However, several people have told us that Smith is going to need a very, very good senior year of academics in order to be eligible next season -- the PAC 10 doesn't accept non-qualifiers.

He is supposed to be attending high school in Vallejo in 2008-2009 rather than Edison High in Fresno where he has been for three years and we were also told that Smith has a relative in the administration of his expected Vallejo high school which hopefully will be helpful in his focus on achieving the academic success he needs in order to play right away.

But even if his immediate college eligibility doesn't materialize, Cleveland will surely be happy to wait another year if Smith qualifies as a Proposition 48-er.

Although definitely in the minority regarding Smith's talent level, we see the WAC as a better level of play for Smith. It goes back to deciding if one wants to possibly be a star (in the WAC) or a player considered helpful (in the PAC 10).

We've been wrong before and certainly will fall into such a status again but this is our take. We will be more than happy if Greg Smith proves us incorrect with our assessments because this will mean the success of another young man and what's not to like about that?

****** UPDATE

Here's a Fresno Bee article from July 10 on Smith's situation:

Edison's Smith stuck amid shuffle
Prep basketball standout, uncle differing on wisdom of a transfer to Bay Area.
Andy Boogaard
The Fresno Bee

All along, Stephen Shelley has watched Greg Smith with a critical eye, from the time his nephew was making baskets at a 10-foot high hoop at 3 years old to last March, when he was throwing down dunk after dunk as a junior in the state basketball playoffs for Edison High.

"He was a beautiful kid who was going to be something special."

All along, sometimes as a guardian, Shelley treated the boy with the middle name Stephen with loving care.

"My sister gave him my name because she knew I would look out and take care of him," the uncle says.

It was out of Shelley's house for much of the past three years that Smith has grown into one of the nation's brightest prospects, launching a recruiting chase that finds Fresno State among the leaders.

But, today, Shelley knows his relationship with the nephew is in jeopardy: "And I'm willing to take that risk...."

Go here for the remainder.

And here's a bit more from the Arizona side:

Jason Scheer
GOAZCATS.com Senior Writer
July 29, 2008

On Tuesday morning, news circulated that Vallejo (Calif.) Bethel center Greg Smith had decommitted from Arizona and instead had chosen to go to Fresno State. While this is partially true, here is what we know so far.

On Monday night, Smith placed a phone call to the Arizona coaching staff saying that he wanted to go to Fresno State rather than Arizona. The main reason for this is because his mother, who has newly entered his life again, wants him to stay close to home....
Go here for the remainder.

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