Late last week, Jaden Smith picked Arizona State in what was a major recruiting win for head coach Bobby Hurley.
A 6-foot-11 center at Kenwood Academy High School (Chicago, Illinois), Smith is a tremendous defensive presence. As a junior, he averaged 5.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.
He held a number of offers including DePaul, Fordham, Georgia Tech, Loyola (Chicago) and TCU among others. Ranked a four-star recruit according to ESPN, he was the first commitment in the 2024 class for Hurley and Arizona State.
“I chose Arizona State because it felt like home,” Smith told USA TODAY High School Sports.
“I feel that I can thrive in their system and they can help me achieve my dreams of playing in the NBA, and more importantly, winning while I’m there.”
The Hurley impact can’t be understated.
In his eight years at Arizona State, he has taken the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament three times. Last year, they finished 23-13.
Hurley has done a solid job in rebuilding the program and in recruiting talent like Smith.
“Coach Hurley is a legendary coach, learned a lot from him already and feel that I can learn a lot more from him,” Smith said.
“He is the blueprint for what it takes to be great and to be successful at the pro and collegiate level. I look forward to building a stronger relationship with him because he is everything I want in a coach.”
Smith admits that he plays with a chip on his shoulder, which might come as a bit of a surprise given that he is a highly-ranked recruit.
But he said that he feels like there is still a lot to prove and he brings that mentality to Arizona State.
“I feel like that’s how I got to be,” Smith said.
“Got to stay humble and hungry at all times – never too high, never too low, and just staying confident and aggressive.”