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RCSI: 119 (2006)
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
Weight: 171 lbs (78 kg)
Age: 30
Position: PG
Jerseys: #14, #1, #4, #, #8
High School: Central Cabarrus High School (North Carolina)
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Agent: Leon Rose
College: Wake Forest
Current Team: Pistons
Win - Loss: 2 - 3

Articles

West Coast Workout Swing Part 2: Al-Farouq Aminu in Los Angeles

Jim Hlavac
Jim Hlavac
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Richard Walker
Richard Walker
May 16, 2010, 11:49 am
Joseph Treutlein

One of the quickest players in college basketball, the thorn in Ishmael Smith’s side has always been his shooting ability, converting a very poor 49% from the free-throw line this past season, a number nearly unheard of for a point guard. He likewise shot poorly from the field, at 22% from the three-point line with just a 44% True Shooting percentage. Coming into pre-draft training, Smith was well aware that he needed to fix his shot to have a chance in the NBA, and he’s come here humbled and hard working, doing everything he can to improve.

Smith’s shot required a lot more tweaking than Aminu’s, unsurprising given his previous results. Coach Hopla had multiple points of emphasis for Smith, namely keeping his elbow in, setting a consistent release point, and most of all, putting in a lot of repetition with the new mechanics in order to start overriding muscle memory. Even after the three-hour session completed, Smith spent more time working one-on-one with Hopla, fine-tuning his mechanics from the free-throw line.

In drills, things looked good for Smith early on, with him hitting 15-for-20 spot-up jumpers from the 15 foot range at one point, but as fatigue set in later in the workout, the results weren’t as good, and he struggled to maintain consistency. Reading too much into these results just three days into the training probably won’t yield many useful insights, as it’s incredibly difficult to make so many changes in such a short period of time. The important thing to note is Smith is clearly putting in the work and understands what he needs to do to improve, even if it could be a very long process. A long-shot to be drafted at this stage, Smith should have chances at finding a way into the NBA this summer or down the road, and how he improves as a shooter will be critical in increasing those chances.

Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC (Part Three: #11-#15)

Rodger Bohn
Rodger Bohn
Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Oct 01, 2007, 02:20 am
Standing 5’11 and weighing about 155 pounds, Ishmael Smith is undersized for a point guard, but he makes up for some of his physical shortcomings with his quickness, tight ball-handling, and excellent court vision. Smith had a strong freshman season for the Demon Deacons, starting at point, playing 30 minutes per game, and averaging six assists per game, but he also scored under nine points per game and committed 3.6 turnovers per, numbers he can certainly improve on.

Smith has a pass-first approach on the offensive end, and he does most of his damage by getting into the lane, where he loves making precision bounce passes through the defense to get a good portion of his assists. He draws defenders by penetrating all the way to the basket or hesitating midway through, making passes through the seams of the defense, on many occasions without looking. He reads the floor very well and makes quick decisions when he sees openings in the defense. Smith also does a good job controlling the tempo of the game and finding open shooters, through basic perimeter ball motion in his team’s half-court set.

Smith handles the ball very well with both hands, keeping the ball low to the ground and possessing a nice array of moves, using crossovers frequently, while also going behind the back on occasion. He does a good job using hesitations and changing speeds and directions once in the lane, weaving through the defense to get to the basket. He does have a tendency to force the issue at times in the lane, though, driving into a crowd and getting into trouble where he’s forced to throw up a tough shot over much bigger defenders, leading to some low-percentage shot attempts. Smith likes to use a right-handed floater to score in the lane, and also shows good touch on his lay-ups, but sometimes he can’t score over longer defenders. He also doesn’t take contact well, and he has a tendency to pump-fake when he doesn’t need to.

Smith occasionally will go to a pull-up jumper from the 10-15 feet range, showing good form and arc on his shot, and doing a good job using his quickness to create the space necessary to get his shot off. Because of his size, he isn’t always able to get the room to get off his shot clearly, as it’s susceptible to blocks due to his height. Smith has a respectable three-point shot as well, showing good form, but he needs space and time to get off his shot, having to step into it on most attempts to generate the necessary power. With some added strength to go along with repetition, Smith has all the tools to become a very good outside shooter in time.

Defensively, Smith puts in good effort and has a solid fundamental base, but his physical shortcomings often hold him back. He doesn’t have the length to contest most perimeter shots, can’t defend in the post at all if he’s ever backed down, and sometimes players can get around him even if he does a good job moving laterally, as his frame is so slight that he’s easy to get past. Smith shows good hands and uses them well to pick at the ball, but isn’t a very big threat in the passing lanes.

All in all, Smith still has some work to do with his game, and will definitely need to become more of a scoring threat inside and out to have a shot in the NBA. He brings good passing instincts to the table, and has a solid grasp of running an offense, but could work on not dribbling into a crowd as often. Smith isn’t ready to make the leap to the pros just yet, and unless he shows incredible growth over the course of this season, he’d likely be best served coming back for his junior year as well.

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