One of the talking points (to come) of the 2018 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft as the players develop themselves in the apex league will be how Zhaire Smith – a three-star recruit who projected himself to a first round pick played and surpassed expectations in the league.
Zhaire didn’t need to play all of his college seasons as his single season with Texas Tech was just all what he needed to get an NBA team to come asking for his services. Perhaps, his commendable mastery of basketball and innate athletic ability has something to do with his father who in his heyday played college football at Kansas State University. As we seek to unravel what makes this kid special, you will learn a lot in his bio, family and what the NBA draft scouting reports said about him.
Zhaire Smith’s Bio
Zhaire Smith was born on the 4th of June 1999 in the large and beautiful city of Garland, Texas, which sits on the northeast of Dallas.
Growing up, Zhaire was enrolled at Lakeview Centennial High School where he quickly became famous for playing basketball and was coached by coach J. T. Locklear. In his high school career, the kid, as a senior, comfortably averaged 20.1 points, 6.6 rebounds with 3.9 assists per game. By the time he was graduating, he was a decent 3-star recruit and chose to attend Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where he would begin playing for the Texas Tech Red Raiders Basketball team in 2017.
With the Red Raiders, Smith wasted no time to average 11.3 points and 5 rebounds per game in the one season he played with the team. Following the end of his freshman season, he declared for the 2018 NBA Draft which then ended his collegiate eligibility.
On the day of the draft – 21st June, the Phoenix Suns selected Zhaire Smith as the 16th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft but were quick to trade him off to the Philadelphia 76ers for Mikal Bridges along with a 2021 first round pick with the Miami Heats.
His dad is Billy Smith but his mother’s name is not yet known, this notwithstanding, we know for certain that he has a sister called Aayinde.
Billy played college football for Kansas State in his youth and later became a multi-sport coach but has been wheelchair-bound since 2013 after he had a surgery to repair a herniated disc but it got worse afterwards. Before he got wheelchair-bound, Billy was also a sturdy basketballer in high school with eventual NBA star Larry Johnson.
Though not much has been revealed about their family, from the little that we know, the Smith’s raised their kids in the best way possible and it is for that reason that Zhaire Smith has his parents on his mind whenever he is playing and they are equally his biggest fans.
Highlights And NBA Draft Scouting Report
The Garland, Texas-born baller stands at a height of 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) and weighs 91 kg or 200 lbs with a 6’9.75 wingspan. He has consistently been improving himself as a Shooting guard/Small forward and has been very much likened to Indiana University prodigy – Victor Oladipo.
With the Raiders, Zhaire Smith had the responsibility of primarily playing off the ball and not creating much for himself off the dribble. In adherence to this, he made impressive contributions in scoring and did unforgettable damage as a finisher with his explosiveness in making jump shots with limited attempts.
Zhaire Smith is still a work in progress and is developing at a very fast pace. By the time he is thoroughly refined, he should be one of the sharpest shooters who can also quickly and neatly steal balls on defense.
He has shown clear signs of playing an aggressive form of defense for which he summons his length and lateral speed into maximum use. Equally, he is tough in protecting the rim and disruptive in denying entry passes from opposing players. In no distant time, Zhaire will be making a huge defensive difference in his present team or any other team he would be playing for in the future.
The highlights of his young career in the short time he has been around, particularly playing in college include his Big 12 All-Defensive Team and Big 12 All-Newcomer Team – both in the year 2018.