With the break from actual basketball this week I thought I would catch up on a few new recruiting profiles for some Purdue targets. As you know, the 2013 class is full, but there have been no 2014 commits yet. As you can see on the recruiting spreadsheet, Purdue has three spots open in the 2014 class with the departure of Sandi Marcius, Travis Carroll, and Terone Johnson. We also know that shooters will be a priority.
Today I wanted to take a look at the first 2015 prospect I have seen this season: Zionsville's Derrik Smits.
Smits is the son of former Indiana Pacers center Rik Smits. He is a rising sophomore at Zionsville that played on the JV squad as a freshman but has now worked his way into the regular Zionsville lineup as a sophomore. He's a very tall, lanky kid just like his dad and he will likely top out somewhere over 7-feet. He is much better this season than last, however.
The biggest negative so far is that he is a stick. Freshman JaJuan Johnson would look like A.J. Hammons next to him. Since he is just a sophomore in high school there is time for him to fill in to his body. I saw him play in the season opener for Zionsville and he had 13 points, all in the first half. For most teams he is a matchup nightmare because there simply are not many 7-footers in Indiana. Against Brebeuf he moved very well without the basketball and showed some range with a solid 15-foot jumper. He needs to work on his rebounding, but his teammates know to look for him cutting to the basket. He also has very good footwork for a big man.
Since I cover Zionsville extensively I am sure I'll see him at least five or six more times this season. The Eagles are 3-1 after winning in overtime at Westfield and beating Western Boone before losing this past Friday at Brownsburg in overtime. Against Western Boone he had a team high 21 points. This was the night after having only two against Westfield. This coming Friday I will see him take on a very good Hamilton Southeastern team.
As the son of a 13-year NBA veteran who could play against Shaq in his prime straight up Smits clearly has the genes to be an excellent player. Best of all, his dad is an assistant coach at Zionsville, giving him the big man workouts he needs. Who better to learn from than a guy that had an extremely successful career in the League?
I am glad we are in on Smits early. He is within a 45-minute drive of West Lafayette and with Hammons hopefully blossoming over the next few seasons he would be a very nice replacement. Assuming Hammons stays for four seasons Smits would arrive on campus just before his senior season, allowing us to have a nice backup to a senior center on what could be a very, very good Purdue team.
I will have more on Smits as the season goes along, but he is definitely a prospect worth watching.