Spotlight on Jade Smith
The house that Jason Kidd made fomous, St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda is the site of the second annual Under Armour Steph Curry Guard Camp held June 29 - July 2. The camp features 25 of the top guards in the country and internationally from the classes of 2016 and 2017.
"When Under Armour first signed Steph Curry, he wanted to do something to give back to the community," said Nick Blatchford, the head of grassroots basketball marketing for Under Armour.
"Since the Bay Area is now his home, we decided to run this camp out of St. Joseph and besides this, look at the timing," continued Blatchford. "Steph is the reigning MVP of the NBA and a champion as his team just won the Larry O'Brien Championship."
The camp, which is closed to the public, is made up of 20 high school players and five players from the collegiate ranks from all over the country. Fran Franschilla, a former college coach and college commentary led the drills yesterday along with Doug Collins, a former NBA player and coach. Curry was at the camp along with his father, former NBA player Dell Curry. They both talked to campers and also took part in the various shooting, dribbling and guard drills.
Some of the players in attendence include Romelo Trimble from the University of Maryland, Bryant McIntoch from Northwestern, and high school stand outs Jalek Felton (Mullins, South Carolina), Jaylen Hands (Chila Vista, California), Seventh Woods (Columbia, South Carolina), Frank Jackson (Highland, Utah), Michael Bibby Jr. (Scottsdale, Arizona), Michael Porter Jr (Columbia, Missouri), Billy Preston (Desoto, Texas) and Kobi SImmons (Alpharetta, Georgia).
St. Joseph isn't new to All Americans, as the school has had four in the past: Calvin Byrd, Kidd, Adrian Ealy and Ray Young. Another player who is trying to etch his name in the St. Joseph rafters is Jade' Smith, a 6-foot-4 point guard in the class of 2017, who is coming into his own. Smith is at the camp, showing his versatility as a distributor and big time shot maker. Long and lanky, Smith has a good feel for the game and can really run a team.
"I am learning a lot from this camp," said Smith. "Especially from Steph Curry as he takes part in the drills and then also helps instruct others. This is different from a lot of other camps. There is some serious instruction going on."
A basketball unknown at the beginning of the year, his recruiting interest is picking up as several colleges are picking up interest. Smith has offers from New Mexico and Nevada Reno. He is also starting to garner interest from San Diego State, Marquette, Cal, Colorado, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Fresno State, St. Mary's and a host of other schools.
"Jade' is just now scratching the surface as a national recruit, said LeRohn Dodson, the founder of Team Superstar, the club Smith plays for in the offseason. "He belongs up there with the Troy Browns and Jaylen Hands of the West Coast in the class of 2017."
Dodson said that coming off of a knee injury, Smith has steadily improved as he has played in games in Louisville and New York and on the Under Armour basketball circuit.
"With his combination of size, athleticism, basketball IQ and his passing ability, he is an elite high major point guard," said Dodson.
Don Lippi, the head coach at St. Joseph was an avid observer at the camp, watching his player and other collegiate prospects.
"Jade' has been a late bloomer as a player," said Lippi. "He grew from 5-foot-10 as a freshman to 6-foot-3 sophmore. This past year, he was just coming off of an injury, but he is getting better and better as a player."