CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.--You can’t help but see bits of John Wall’s game in 2016 North Carolina native Dennis Smith.
The explosiveness. The lightning-quick first step. The finishes above the rim. The subtle way he raises his off-arm to protect the ball when attacking the basket.
And over the past year, the two have developed a working relationship as Wall continues to reach back into the community from which he came and keep an eye on the talent developing in the region.
“He’s a hometown guy. He’s from Raleigh, like 45 minutes away from my house,” Smith said at the NBPA’s Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va., on Thursday.
“We’re going to play pickup whenever he comes back and get a couple of workouts in. He’s going to come watch some of my games later this summer.”
Smith says he stays in contact with Wall’s family on a regular basis and talks to the All-Star point guard from time-to-time.
In case you’re wondering, Smith doesn’t yet have an offer from Wall’s former program, Kentucky, though he says he’s examined the program and its ability to produce high-level guards.
At 6-2, 170 pounds, Smith has good size for the lead guard spot and is likely the best attacking point guard in his class and is ranked No. 16 overall by Rivals.com.
Now entering his junior year, the floodgates have opened.
North Carolina schools were the first to hop on-board -- NC State, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and now an offer from Duke -- along with others that include VCU, Kansas, and Texas.
He brings an instant scoring threat to a college offense and is dangerous attacking the rim in the open floor in the same way that his fellow North Carolinian has though he is not yet on the same level as a distributor.
He has time to develop, but at no point will the media scrum around him grow any smaller.