I like to see every incoming recruit play at least once, and living Indiana I often get the chance to do that. Tonight, Basil Smotherman was the target, as I headed up to Pike High School to see Lawrence North play No. 3 rated Pike in a rematch of an earlier 85-78 win by Pike in the Marion County Tournament. This time around Lawrence North pulled off the win 87-83, and Smotherman was impressive in helping out. both of these teams are among the best in Indiana, so it was a good game to judge him in.
Smotherman is No.5 in green in the video.
I wasn't able to get a lot on the video, but Smotherman had a solid night. He was 7 of 16 from the field and 2 of 2 from the line with 16 points, 7 rebounds, two assists, a block, and a steal. He wasn't afraid to bring the ball up, but his defense was harder to assess with him playing on the wing in a 2-3 zone for most of the night.
One of his most impressive plays did occur on the defensive end. Trey Patterson of Pike received a pass on the right block and appeared to have a wide open layup. Smotherman, listed at 6'7" 220 pounds, came sweeping in out of nowhere to reject the shot. It was a defiant rejection into the bench as well.
The second impressive play was on offense early in the third quarter and I really wish I had gotten it on tape. Lawrence North was inbounding at midcourt. Smotherman received the pass about 40 feet from the basket, saw the Red Devils were napping, and in about three dribble his sliced down the lane and threw down an absolutely ruthless left-handed tomahawk slam.
Smotherman wasn't the leading scorer for his team. John McCloud had 20, Daeshon Francis had 19, and Dan Scofield, a 6'8" senior post player, had 15 points and 18 rebounds. Smotherman was still quite impressive in terms of pure athleticism. I would describe him as Kelsey Barlow with his give-a-shit always turned on. When he didn't have the ball he was looking for that perfect cut. With the ball he was lightning quick. Twice he grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a score. He helped to close the game with a nice assist on a basket with 36 seconds left that put LN in front 80-75.
He didn't exhibit his jumper much, but he took at least one three (he missed), and I asked him about that after the game:
"You definitely have to work on your three-pointer because D.J. Byrd is the only one that can shoot the ball. Terone and Ronnie are little bit streaky, but they will get it going soon enough. Ronnie just got into the program and is stepping up. Kendall can shoot it. I can shoot it. Bryson can shoot it. So, we just keep pushing."
That led to me asking him about chemistry. There is no question Purdue is lacking it this season, so I asked how basil fit in with the existing freshmen as well as the incoming guys:
"Me, Kendall, and Bryson text a lot. Speaking of that, I was texting with them the whole way here. We do group messages all the time. I talked to Ronnie and all them. A.J. Hammons is like, ‘stay in shape when you come up to Purdue.' They say conditioning is just crazy."
Basil had more to say on how he fit in with Purdue struggling this year:
"I feel like I can bring my driving ability and my size with everything else. I'm big for a three-guard. I just feel like the things I do I can bring to Purdue and to win games and just do the little things for coach Painter. I just want to try and turn the season around for them."
I would like to see Basil continue to work on his jumper, but he has been effective at that for a good portion of this season. He wasn't the primary scoring option for Lawrence North, but was very effective about being an opportunistic scorer. This was a very fast paced game with large swings of momentum. Pike once trailed 39-19 but managed to get within two on a couple of occasions in the fourth quarter.
That was a product of the helter-skelter nature of the game. Lawrence North was all over the boards, but had 18 turnovers in a 32 minute game. Taishaun Johnson had 29 points to bring them back into this one. As part of a seven-man rotation basil was heavily involved in keeping them at bay.
I don't think Basil is going to be an instant 15 points per game player, but he is very cunning and as you watch him, you can tell he is an intelligent player. He's a hard worker and as long as he keeps that attitude he will fit in nicely.