Coming off a strong junior season, Colin Smith has continued his impressive play this summer with Southern Assault (TX). The talented forward prides himself on his defensive versatility, playmaking ability, knocking down shots, and leadership intangibles.
Currently ranked as a 4-star recruit (via 247Sports), Smith has offers and interest from the likes of Michigan, Texas, Illinois, UNC, Oregon, Stanford, Oklahoma State, and Baylor, among other programs.
In his interview with Pro Insight, he talks about his background, growth as a player, off-court interests, what he is looking for in a college program, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Colin Smith, from Dallas, Texas:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit about your background.
Colin Smith: I’m Colin Smith and I’m from Dallas. Was born and raised here. I’ve got a sister who is two years older than me and she plays volleyball at Stanford. So pretty good history with me in terms of family playing at the next level. I’ve had a really good upbringing, my parents have been instilling good values in me from a young age. I’m just happy they’ve always been there for me. Basketball is something I’ve loved from a young age and is something I’ve worked for and now it’s starting to pay off.
PI: Any other athletes in your family aside from your sister?
CS: Yes sir, my godfather is Kurt Thomas. He played in the league for a long time and is a TCU great.
PI: What are your current measurements?
CS: I’m about 6’8” and about 210 pounds. Still trying to put on weight and fill out a bit more. I’m in the gym all of the time just trying to get stronger and more lean.
PI: Where do you get your height from?
CS: My family is pretty tall: my mom is about 5’11”, her brother is about 6’5” and her mom is about 5’10”. My dad is about 6’5” there’s just height all around the family — it’s just in the genes [smiles].
PI: Did you play other sports growing up?
CS: Man my parents just let me do whatever I needed to do to get the energy out so I wouldn’t just be at home causing havoc. So when I was younger I just played everything: baseball, soccer, dodgeball, kickball — I just played whatever I could. But then I settled down with basketball and track and then once I got to high school I knew that basketball was the thing for me so I just dropped everything else and just solely focused on basketball.
PI: Which events did you do in track?
CS: I started out with the 800m and the 1600m, but then I started doing the long jump and high jump. I also did the 200m, 400m, and everything. Just whatever my coach needed me to do I went out there and ran my hardest, jumped my highest, jumped my farthest, I just gave it my all.
PI: What made you decide to start shifting your focus more toward basketball?
CS: I think it started to happen more towards the end of middle school, like my 8th grade year is when I started to get more traction on my name playing with Hard Work. They put a lot of videos out on me which helped get traction on my name. I think for track, I just got a little too big for that...a 6’6” kid in 8th grade running track looks silly. Then I started working a lot more in basketball and stopped worrying about other sports like that. Just seeing my growth, getting bigger and stronger, I knew basketball was where I would fit best in, maybe football, but I kind of dropped that too.
PI: Was there any interest in diving into football?
CS: It was tempting. I played both 7th and 8th grade year and I’m not gonna lie, I was kind of nice. But I didn’t want to get injured because football is right before basketball and I didn’t want my basketball season to be shortened by football playoffs. I like basketball better than football when I play so I just chose basketball anyways.
PI: For those that aren’t super familiar with your game — what are your greatest strengths?
CS: I feel as a player I’m pretty complete. On the court I can do whatever I need to do. I can shoot, drive to the basket, and get my teammates involved. On the defensive end I’m just gonna lock up and take charges, which is something not a lot of players do. I just affect the game in every way I can and that’s just being a leader on and off the court. That’s just something that sets me apart from other prospects.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most?
CS: I think just being a big guard, handling the ball, and just bringing the ball up the court. Making sure you make good decisions and take good shots is something you always have to work on, but I feel like you always work on everything, you’ll never be perfect. I feel like you work on your jump shot all the time, ball-handling, work on your passing, there’s nothing you’re ever going to be perfect at so you just stay working.
PI: What’s your training schedule like?
CS: Usually during the school year on Monday-Tuesday I’m in the weight room doing a lot of movement stuff. Then Tuesday-Sunday is basketball, I’m usually in the gym. In the summer I’m typically doing two-a-days because I’ve got a lot more time on my hands. Then you’ve got AAU practice and tournaments, so it’s just a lot of recovery you have to do during the weekend. So it’s just a full year, no breaks, you’re always working, but I like it that way.
PI: Basketball can be time-consuming for top-level prospects — do you view that lifestyle as a grind?
CS: It’s a little bit of both. It’s a grind, but also you fall in love with that, just being in the gym working. Seeing that work payoff when you get in the big time games and you produce. Just the grind is always fun, you can always have a serious workout and then you could have somewhere you just go one-on-one and just get buckets with whoever you’re working out with. You’ve got to make the time however you want to, be in the gym and just work.
PI: What are some underrated parts of your game you feel you don’t get enough credit for?
CS: I feel like I’m a really good passer. I see the court well and get my teammates open shots. I feel like that’s something I stand out with — I’m really good at making my teammates better and getting them open shots and stuff like that. I think that’s probably the most underrated part of my game. Also on the defensive end I fly around, I feel like I’m everywhere on the court.
PI: Who has been the toughest individual matchup you’ve ever faced?
CS: I’ll say two players I know…I played RJ Hampton in high school my freshman year, that was a tough matchup. I think he had like 28 [points] or something. Then I did an open run where I had to guard Cade Cunningham right before he went to OSU. So those are two players, one in the league and one about to be possibly the first pick. Just working out with guys and playing against guys like that really help you get better as a player and just seeing talent like that.
PI: How’d you do against Cade Cunningham?
CS: I scored some buckets, but he also gave me some buckets...it goes that way, sometimes [smiles].
PI: Do you model your game after anyone in particular?
CS: I don’t think I model [myself] after one person, I just watch the game and pick and choose who I watch. Like KD, I like the way he gets to his spots and shoots over defenders and uses his length to score. LeBron, his playmaking. Kobe, the mentality. Steph, how he moves off the ball, runs hard, and comes off screens. Picking and choosing things from a lot of other great players is something you have to do. Giannis, getting to the basket with his euro-step and stuff like that. Everyone has something they’re great at and you just try to pick and choose from them.
PI: How would you describe the basketball culture in Dallas?
CS: I feel like Dallas is the mecca for high school basketball. We have so much talent. Every game you’re going against someone who is a big name. You’re playing against Keyonte [George], Rylan Griffen, Bryce Griggs, etc. So it’s big time games all the time and it’s never going to be an easy game, it’s going to be a nail-biter and it’s just entertaining. I feel like Dallas is one of the best places in the west for basketball.
PI: Describe this past season.
CS: COVID put a stop to a lot of our games. We were supposed to play against Duncanville, we were supposed to play in the Hoopfest, we were supposed to go to Miami, so COVID messed up a lot of the season. But we were blessed and happy to get the 12 games we did and we just went out there and hooped. Our district canceled the playoffs, so that was pretty rough. We had a good season, but it was a struggle because we would play for like a week, then get shut down for two weeks, then play two more games and get shut down again. So it was just hard to catch a rhythm and then we had to play in masks, which was a whole other thing. We had to get used to running up and down the court with a mask to control your breathing. It was definitely a struggle of a season, but we still made the time good and had a lot of good moments and embraced the culture we had.
PI: You play with Southern Assault for AAU — what has your experience been like with them?
CS: I came to Southern Assault last year, my 16U year. That was when COVID started, really — we played a little bit at the beginning. I started with 16U and then I played the last couple of tournaments with 17U. That was really good. I got to play with Harrison [Ingram]. It was pretty fun playing with them. Now this year, we’ve got our team of me, Keyonte [George], Q [Quion Williams], and Yohan [Traore]. It’s a really good team so we’re just excited for the rest of the year. We’ve got a lot of good tournaments and stuff in June and July, so we’re excited to play a lot of other good teams around.
PI: How did you feel performing so well against We All Can Go last month in Atlanta?
CS: It was a really good game, they had a lot of good players on that team. Two guys in the top-10 according to ESPN. It was just a challenge for me to go out there and try to prove myself and show I can hang with anybody and I think I did that really well. Just playing good defense, knocking down shots, and playing all-around defense and everything. I think that game was really good and most importantly we came out with a win.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player and as a person?
CS: I think short term, I want to win another state championship if that’s possible. I hope everything goes back to normal with COVID and everything and we get the chance to run it back. Trying to commit soon is another goal. Also, I know I don’t have a lot of publicity on my name, but I want to get to the McDonald’s All-American game, that’s another short term goal of mine. I have a lot of big time goals, but I’m going to keep that to myself.
PI: How about long term?
CS: Get to college and get to the league. I don’t want to be a player who just went to college basketball and then just kind of fell off. I want to be someone that dominated there and made it to the next level and had a good role in the NBA, too. I think those are some good goals. Then get a college degree when it’s all said and done. Just giving back to the community that gave so much to me.
PI: What are some things you bring to a team off the court?
CS: I think my personality is pretty out there. I’m a pretty cool and fun guy. I make a lot of jokes and stuff, trying to get the chemistry going with the team and stuff like that. But I’m also a leader off the court, I’m not going to let you do crazy stuff and get the team in trouble or nothing like that. I’m a serious, but fun guy.
PI: Would you say you’re the team jokester?
CS: I’m not the main jokester, we got some jokesters on our team, but I chime in from time to time.
PI: What’s the latest with your recruitment?
CS: We’re just taking our time, a lot of coaching changes going on. We have to adjust to that and form new relationships with the new coaches at other schools. It’s been pretty good, a lot of zoom calls, but once you get used to it you start to enjoy it. It’s just been a blessing having all of these colleges interested in me as a player. It makes you think about just being blessed and how God put me in this position to be a good basketball player and I’m just going to try to ride that wave as far as I can.
PI: Growing up did you ever see yourself in this position?
CS: I don’t know if I did see myself like this, but I definitely didn’t see all of these college offers. My freshman year I had like six offers before I even played a high school game. I was not expecting all of that, it was pretty crazy — but as I say, stay blessed and stay humble and just keep working.
PI: When did you start to get noticed on a national scale?
CS: I think it was my 8th grade year when I was playing with Hard Work. There were a lot of videos going out of me at camps and a lot of tournaments I was playing at. That just really put my name on the map. From then I played with Drive Nation and now I play with Southern Assault. All three are really good organizations that have really helped me put my name out there and have been able to showcase my game.
PI: How have you handled some of the attention?
CS: Me personally, I keep to myself. I post on social media, but not all the time, I’m just kind of laid back. You just have to stay humble because you don’t want to reach the point where you feel like you made it and then other people start passing you up. So you just want to stay humble, stay working, and don’t get lost in the hype.
PI: What are the latest offers you’ve received?
CS: I haven’t gotten any offers recently. I think it’s started to slow down, you start to get those final schools and those final coaching staffs. The ones I’ve been talking to the most are Michigan, Illinois, Stanford, and UNC. I’ve been talking to Texas a lot with all of the new coaches that went there, too. As well as Oregon and Oklahoma State.
PI: What are colleges’ recruiting pitch to you?
CS: The main pitch has always been that they love my versatility as a player, I can guard 1-4, handle the ball like a guard, shoot it, and get to the basket. So they feel like that can affect the way they play getting up and down the court. So it’s mainly about my versatility and stuff like that.
PI: How unique/different has the recruiting process been throughout COVID?
CS: It’s been pretty different. My freshman year I was able to go visit some schools, but after that it’s been a lot of zoom calls, like this one. Just trying to get in touch as much as you can with all of the limited time you have. We didn’t really have a live period last year so that really hurt us, at least for me, I couldn’t really go see any schools or stuff like that. It’s been a unique process, but it’s definitely worth it.
PI: How has it been teaming up with Harrison Ingram over the years?
CS: Me and Harrison have been boys since like 4th or 5th grade, so we’ve been together for a while. We both went to the same middle school and we just both progressed as players throughout middle school to high school and now we’re at where we are today. He’s definitely helped me with recruiting and the whole process. He had a different one than me most of the time because he was able to go to school visits and stuff like that. So he’s been able to tell me about campuses and stuff. Definitely from his game, he’s a great playmaker, so just playing with him, just always being ready to catch the ball...he might not be looking at you, but you might have a pass coming your way. That’s just something I want to have in my game, to playmake like Harrison. So he’s definitely someone who has had an influence on my game. He’s a big brother to me, so he’s definitely someone who I look up to.
PI: Did you have any dream schools growing up?
CS: I don’t think I did. I watched college basketball and had a lot of schools I liked, but never had a dream school like “I’m going to that one if I got an offer.” I don’t think I ever had that. I’ve been pretty neutral with schools.
PI: What are you ultimately looking for in a school of choice?
CS: Definitely looking at the coaching staff. If I see myself fitting in with them and having a good relationship with them. Then the team, the way they play, how they move the ball, how I will get involved, and stuff like that. Also just academics, to see if the school offers something I’m interested in majoring in. Just all around the board somewhere I fit in, somewhere where I feel I’m needed and wanted and where I can make an impact.
PI: Any thoughts on what you’d possibly like to major in?
CS: I’m pretty torn right now. I’d like to do business, but I’d also like to do something that’s sports-related like broadcasting or sports science. I haven’t decided yet.
PI: Do you feel like you’d be comfortable as a broadcaster?
CS: Yeah I feel like it. It’s a different thing when you’re on TV. But I feel like once you get used to that, it’s just all part of life, you’re just talking basketball.
PI: What kind of system do you feel best fits your strengths as a player?
CS: I feel like a system where the wings get the ball a lot and are not only able to score, but also affect the game as a playmaker and stuff like that. Somewhere where they take defense seriously, I feel like that’s somewhere I want to be. A school where they pride themselves on the defensive end. That’s somewhere I would want to go. As well as a culture in general, somewhere where they have a history of greatness of culture and a history of winning. That’s where I’d want to go.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
CS: That is tough…I feel like success to me is being happy where you are. You can make it to the NBA, but you really don’t succeed if you’re not happy with yourself and how you’re performing. So I feel like once you get there and you reach all of the other goals you want like having a family, giving back to the community, etc. I feel like that’s when you really reach success, at least for me. So I feel like that’s what success is.
PI: What do you personally feel you’ll need to accomplish in your career in order for you to become satisfied?
CS: I feel like if I play a long time and I’m more than just a role player. If I’m someone that affects the game in many ways. Maybe win a championship, that would be something I would like to do, but also maybe make it to the All-Star game, make an all-defensive team, all-NBA team, something like that...it would be something you will always remember that you accomplished.
PI: What would you say is the smartest purchase you’ve ever made?
CS: The smartest purchase is buying the new Xbox [Series X]. It’s helped me connect with a lot of new people and other than basketball it’s been another way to have a good time. I feel like that was a pretty good purchase.
PI: Do you have a favorite book?
CS: I would say either The Great Gatsby or Where the Red Fern Grows. Those are two books I really liked reading. I don’t read all of the time, but when I do read, I get into the book a little bit. I do a little bit of research. So those are two books I enjoy reading.
PI: Why do you like those books?
CS: It’s hard to explain. The Great Gatsby is a great book, just a lot of things you can see from the 1920’s — the issues that were going on. Someone that had a false identity of themself and stuff like that. Then Where the Red Fern Grows was a book I read in middle school and it was a tear-jerker, honestly. It was a sad book. Towards the end I had a tear or two at the end. It’s something I will always remember. Those two books have stuck with me.
PI: Talk about your most embarrassing moment.
CS: Oh yeah, and it ended up in an injury too. It was 8th grade, we were playing in a smaller gym and I tried to save a ball and I crashed into the wall and broke my wrist, but I didn’t even know I broke it at that moment. I just kept playing and I air-balled a shot like immediately after. It was the most embarrassing thing ever. Another thing was my sophomore year, we played against Lincoln [High School], I went up for a dunk and I dunked it, but the dude pushed me from behind and I just landed on my whole butt in front of the crowd. It was pretty embarrassing [smiles].
PI: Talk about your favorite all-time memory on the basketball court.
CS: I think the semi-final game before we won the state championship. I caught a body and the whole stadium went crazy. I fouled out because I got a tech after it, so that was just a crazy moment [laughs]. I think that was probably one of my favorite moments.
PI: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
CS: I feel like my biggest pet peeve other than smacking — someone who smacks when they eat — I think my biggest one even though I’m guilty of doing it is when someone says, “I’ll be there in five minutes” and they get there like 30 minutes later. I hate when people do that, but I do that all the time too. That’s my biggest pet peeve.
PI: Who would you say has been the biggest influence on your life up to this point?
CS: I think definitely my dad. My mom, she was kind of the influence for my sister with her volleyball when she grew up and my dad took over the basketball aspect. So he’s been my coach from a young age and then he started taking a back seat and letting other people help me. He’s always been there to try and help me improve as a player and he’s always giving me tidbits and tips. He’s always been there so I’m very grateful for him.
PI: Would you say you rely more on your natural talent and ability or on your work ethic?
CS: I feel like I have both. I feel like I’ve been blessed with the talent God has given me, but I also know I’ve worked super hard for my physical abilities on the court. But I also work on my mind with my IQ and stuff like that. So I feel like it’s a good mixture of both.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
CS: I’d probably say Kobe [Bryant] is someone I definitely looked up to. He just approached the game in a different way that I’d never seen. Someone who just worked so hard and just his mentality. Then whenever he died...I was playing Xbox actually when he died. We didn’t have a tournament [that day]. I was playing Xbox and I looked at my phone…I saw it on Instagram first and I was like, “this is a joke, why would anybody joke about this?” And then I turned off my Xbox, went on ESPN, and there it was. I was like, “what?!” Like Kobe Bryant just died. That was probably the craziest unbelievable moment I’ve had in my life. Just losing someone like him so early. It made me want to work harder. He has a lot of impact on everybody’s life so everybody looks up to him as a player and as someone who affected the game in so many ways. So he’s definitely someone I’ve looked up to.
PI: Talk about a time or story in your life that you feel has really shaped who you are today.
CS: I think before I gained any traction, maybe around my 5th grade year, I was on a team called North Texas Tarheels. I was there with Harrison [Ingram] and a lot of guys who were older than me. I was playing up and we went to nationals and stuff like that. I was horrible at the time, I was not good, and I got no minutes. The one time in the national championship game I got in I got my ankles broken and at that point I questioned playing basketball. After that I was like, “you know what? I’m going to make sure I’m never going to be a bench player. I’m never going to be someone who just gets trash minutes.” Since that moment I’ve always been working my butt off trying to be the best I can be.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
CS: My trainer, Nick, he gives great advice all the time. He has a book called God x Basketball. It’s a lot of motivationals that mix in basketball with the Bible and stuff like that. So it’s something that I read a lot. It encourages you to not only do it for yourself or for your family, but for the man above. He’s blessed you with this talent so just give it back to him. So I think that...and he sends me texts every morning, long paragraphs of just how God has put me in this place to be great and I’ve got to attack the day like that.
PI: How have you handled and responded to adversity in your life?
CS: I feel like for me adversity is always going to be there. You’re going to come up to it at one point in your life and you’ve just got to take it on the chest and keep on moving. That’s just my approach to adversity and road blocks like that...injuries and stuff. You’ve just got to take your time, recover, and go back like nothing happened. Just keep playing.
PI: If you woke up tomorrow to see a fortune in your bank account, what would be your first purchase?
CS: I feel like the first thing I would do is put most of it in savings or invest it into something else. Then I think I would either buy a house or a Tesla or something. I always wanted a Tesla. I feel like if I make it to the league and I have all that money I’m only going to buy a Tesla as a car. I don’t want any other car, I want a Tesla.
PI: What are you most passionate about outside of the game of basketball?
CS: I think I’m competitive all of the time. Whatever I’m doing I’m just going to be competitive. Video games, board games, I’m going to talk trash and do what I have to do to win. I’m just competitive in nature.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
CS: I would say I’m a pretty smart person, so I feel like I would do something in business or something like that. I might try to do a little bit of acting. I take drama classes so I might try to get into the film business, be the next Will Smith, maybe. Those are some things I think I would be interested in pursuing.
PI: Are you acting in school plays?
CS: I actually just did one. It’s pretty fun just trying to be someone that you’re not and playing a different character. It’s pretty fun, actually. The opportunities you can have, maybe you could have a feature in a TV show or something like that. It’s fun and definitely the kids in my class, they make it a lot better. It’s serious, but we have a good time...we make jokes and stuff like that. It’s just a good environment.
PI: Have you ever tried to be an extra on a show or movie?
CS: I haven’t gotten the opportunity, but if I got an email or something like that then I’m definitely going to see if I could get in there.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
CS: Competitive. Funny. Hard-working. Determined.
PI: If someone were to write a book or a movie about your life, what would be the title?
CS: I don’t even know [laughs]. Something that would be outgoing, but also stay at home or something like that. I don’t know. A play on words….yeah I can’t answer that right now [laughs].
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
CS: I want to be remembered as someone who whenever they played they always gave it their all, played their heart out, left everything out on the court every single game. Then as someone that was able to get buckets and make everyone around them better. Also off the court, just was always active in the community, always gave back, and someone who used that platform for the betterment of the country. Someone that always just isn’t self-obsessed...someone that’s empathetic for their community.
Watch the full interview with Colin, here