Breakdown: Five-star forward Ray Smith commits to Arizona

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Latest in hoops: Latest News | Coaching Changes | Recruiting

Ray Smith and Arizona have seemed like a suitable pairing for several months, but the five-star small forward continued to progress in his recruitment.

He released a list of 10 schools in the spring, but then had a final list of nine schools last month. The most recent talk had Smith committing later in the summer, but still waiting a few weeks after the July live period.

After tearing his ACL over the weekend at the Adidas Unrivaled event, though, Smith didn't want to wait any longer – and, as many expected, he's heading to Tucson.

Smith is the second Arizona pledge for the class of 2015, joining Justin Simon in Sean Miller's class. He's also the second highest-ranked player to make a commitment in the rising senior class, following LSU pledge Ben Simmons.

The file on … Ray Smith

  • Height: 6-foot-7
  • Weight: 185 pounds
  • Position: Small Forward
  • Ranking: No. 13 in 247Sports Composite
  • High School: Las Vegas High School (Nev.)
  • AAU: Dream Vision
  • Stats: 14.6 points, 4.1 rebounds during Adidas Gauntlet (16 games)

How he fits at Arizona: Smith's athleticism and ability to finish in transition are the first things one notices when watching him. He has terrific length and finishes at the rim as well as anyone in the country. He glides around the court, creating separation with long strides. Smith can also find teammates for easy baskets, demonstrating good vision in the half-court. The tools are there for Smith to be a lockdown defender, given his size, length and mobility on the wing. In terms of improving, Smith has worked on his face-up game and jump shot throughout the spring and summer. His 3-point shot isn't there just yet, but lately, he's demonstrated the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers on a consistent basis. Once the jump shot falls on a regular basis, Smith's ceiling will continue to rise. Smith should be able to help immediately at Arizona, especially with his defensive ability and length on the perimeter – which will boost the pack-line defense that Miller preaches. Arizona only has two seniors for the upcoming season, but four other starters could potentially leave early for the NBA draft – including wings Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. In that scenario, Smith would step in immediately at the small forward position.

What it means for Arizona's class: Arizona is off to a great start in what should be a loaded class of 2015. The first commitment was Tyler Dorsey, one of the best combo guards in the class – but the California native decommitted in June and reopened his recruitment. Justin Simon committed to the Wildcats in May, and he's one of the best point guards in the country. He can be an elite-level defender, and is capable of playing off the ball as well. Two of the biggest targets left on the board for Miller include guards Isaiah Briscoe and Allonzo Trier, a couple of five-star prospects for which Arizona is in very good shape. Should Miller land Briscoe and Trier, the Wildcats will make a great case for the best recruiting class in the country – but there are frontcourt targets as well. Ivan Rabb, Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter are all top-10 prospects, while Chance Comanche is a talented center. Arizona is likely in the best shape with Rabb and Comanche. It's unclear how many scholarships Arizona will have for the 2015 class, but up to six players are capable of departing after the upcoming season. Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson will sit out 2014-15 and has one year of eligibility left for Arizona, which helps inside. Miller could push for the No. 1 class in the country when all is said and done.

Which school loses the most: Louisville and Georgetown. To be clear, Arizona was undoubtedly the leader for Smith, but if one had to pick a school or two really hurt by his decision – it would be Louisville and Georgetown, which were looking to lock down official visits with Smith. Georgetown is also heavily involved with Allonzo Trier and Ivan Rabb, which will be another battle with Arizona. The Hoyas have been heavily pursuing small forward Dwayne Bacon – who is also being targeted by Louisville at the small forward spot. The Cardinals, though, are the leaders for Deng Adel, a small forward who could make his decision sooner rather than later.

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