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One of the top recruits in college basketball, Arkansas commit Nick Smith Jr. has quickly become one of the most anticipated players in the 2022 class. Making a name for himself with his size, mentality, and IQ, Nick’s potential is through the roof as he wraps up his high school career and looks towards his college days. Growing up with a tight relationship with his mom, Nick says he hopes to use his gifts to inspire others at the next level.

As Nick has become a star on the court, his mom, Candace, says she continues to be blown away by his gifts. As she has raised Nick, she says it has begun with a foundation of faith for her family.

Nick with his mother, Candace.
“When I became a mother, I understood that the only way to raise children is with love and grace because our Father has loved us freely. I have always taught my children to lead by example knowing that their daily walk life could lead others to Christ.”

As she has watched Nick grow on the court, she says she is even prouder of the young man he has become off the court.

“He is an exceptional big brother to his sister and brother. He spends quality time with them every week rather it’s playing video games with his brother or just talking with his sister- taking an interest in anything she has going on. Sometimes I do not realize his growth on the court until I am watching him in the games. At times I am taken aback but I know how much work and dedication he has to the game. He has really been blessed with talent and has proposed to give back in many ways.”

Nick recently finished up his illustrious high school career in the best way possible, helping lead North Little Rock to a 6A state title as they cemented themselves as one of the best high school teams in the country. As Nick has seen his success on the court, he credits his faith for leading him to where he is today.

“Faith has played a major role in my basketball career because I do not believe I would be in this position if it were not for God. He has definitely blessed me to be in this position and for that, I will always be grateful.”

Photo courtesy of Nick Smith Jr.
As Nick’s skills have been evident on the court, what stands out most is his humility away from it, too. Quick to deflect the praise, he has become admired for the way he carries himself throughout his life.

As Nick now prepares for his time in Arkansas, he has quickly become a household name as a consensus 5-star recruit and one of the highest-ranked commits of 2022. Nick says that he hopes whatever time he has around the game isn’t focused on him, but rather he hopes to use his gifts to inspire others to always chase their dreams and know you can reach whatever you put your mind to.

“The biggest impact I wish to leave is HOPE. I want others to know this is possible-if it was possible for me, it’s possible for them. People tried to doubt my ability, but I persevered and worked hard, and God continued to bless me with opportunities after opportunities. I want my talents to bless someone else.”

Nick will sit back and watch as the Razorbacks continue to battle in the 2022 NCAA tournament, awaiting his days in the Arkansas uniform himself. Nick says he hopes to treasure every day he has and learn from each experience. With faith as his foundation, both Nick and his mom have seen the platform he has been given. With a drive to help others, Nick will always look to give back every chance he gets.

 

Ethan Kruse

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