DALLAS — Gregory James Smith Jr. doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s clinging to lofty aspirations of playing basketball at the collegiate level.
Among his key attributes?
For starters, the Dallas Triple A Academy swingman has the ability to harbor selective amnesia.
In a nutshell, he’s quick to forget about his occasional struggles and inconsistencies on the court and ultimately atone for them with efficient play.
To his credit, that essentially is how a majority of his senior season played out for the Stallions.
“(This past) season was pretty good starting off,” Smith told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “Then I hit a few rough patches, but picked up my play and had a few 20 point games, a double double games, and made first team all district.”
In garnering District 10 Region 2-4A honors, Smith, a 6-foot-3, 150 1/2 pound player who can play multiple positions — most notably point guard — demonstrate time and again that he posseses the skills and wherewithal to compete at the nexel level.
Not only did he re-assert himself as a proven, reliable scorer while appearing each of his team’s 32 games, but he emerged as the catalyst for a Bobby Washington-coached Triple A team that advanced Texas Class 4A championship game at Texas A & M University at Commerce, where the upstart Stallions were upended by Lincoln, 63-54.
“Ever since the season ended, I have been in the gym,” Smith said. “Three days out the week, I’m in the gym at 5 a.m., getting in hundreds of shots before school and work on my ball-handling and defense. After school, I go back to the gym and lift weights and do cardio. Everyday I am getting better.”
But is Smith’s resilient work ethnic, coupled with his keen desire to progress mightily, enough to eneable him to draw rave reviews from college scouts and recruiters?
“Whatever school that offers me will be excited because my potential is out the roof. They will be getting a point guard who can switch gears and who will know when to score and who to get the ball too. A player who can read defenses or mis matches and attack the opponent and most of all a hard worker.
“Playing college basketball means everything to me and my family,” Smith said. “I have been playing basketball and AAU since I was five years old. I have been on the circuit for years. I have played in the Adidas phenomenon camp in California and have been to more then 10 states because of basketball. I love the game I’m constantly watching the college (game).”
Now that his prep career has all but come to an end in rather impression fashion, Smith admittedly has now turned his focus to playing on the collegiate level.
Luckily for him, he’s generated interest from a host of schools, most notably an offer from Southwestern College in Whitfield, Kansas, as well as letters of interest from the University Louisiana at Monroe and a host of junior colleges.
“That he works hard and stays focus and makes good decisions, he can go as far as he want if he (continues to) work hard,” said Greg Smith, Sr., Greg’s father who is a patrol officer in Monroe, Louisiana. “Greg has been playing basketball since he was five. He has good leadership (skills) and great work ethics.”
Not to mention an assortment of key qualities that could greatly prompt college coaches to inquire about his services some time in the foreseeable future.
“My strengths are my leadership abilities,” Greg Smith, Jr. said. “I can shoot very well. I have a high IQ for the game, can dribble well, and play good defense.”
As for the mechanics about which he must fine tune, Greg Smith Jr. said, “I just need to work on getting stronger and faster for the next level and work on being explosive in the air.”
And never mind that this kid, who’s armed with a wealth of talent, had to put his immense skills on display for a relatively new charter school whereby only a few scouts knew about.
“Playing college basketball means everything to me and my family,” Greg Smith, Jr. said.
Sounding as confident as ever before.
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Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.