In our first Q&A with Colin Smith, we went in depth on his background and basketball journey. This time, we spoke with the sharp shooting 2022 forward about his commitment to Vanderbilt University. In addition to his sniper-esque range shooting, Smith’s development as a two-way option, feel for the game, and eagerness to help his team to a win caught the attention of a number of college programs, including Coach Jerry Stackhouse and the rest of the staff at Vanderbilt.
Smith recently put together a strong summer with Southern Assault (TX) on the adidas 3SSB circuit where he more than held his own against other highly-touted competition. After three successful seasons with St. Mark’s High School (TX), Smith opted to transfer to AZ Compass Prep (AZ) for his senior season to better prepare for the next level and hit the ground running when he gets to campus in the summer of 2022.
Pro Insight’s Tyler Glazier spoke with the newest Commodore.
Pro Insight: First off — for those that don’t know you or haven’t read our first interview with you, how did you get to where you are today?
Colin Smith: I started at a young age playing for my dad in small gyms and as I started getting older I started getting better. AAU became a real priority and that’s what I’ve been doing most, playing AAU ball. Playing on a lot of good teams that always win. I went to St. Mark’s my whole high school through my junior year and now I’m here at AZ Compass looking to win GEICO [Nationals].
PI: What led to the decision to join AZ Compass?
CS: I think the main thing is I wanted to be in an environment that would really get me ready for the next level. Here at AZ we get a lot of time in the gym and it’s really like a college program living in a house with the other guys and stuff like that. I think it’s just the best decision for me to get ready for the next level and play against a lot of top competition in the country.
PI: How has your game improved since joining them?
CS: I think I’ve become more aggressive. Defensively I’ve gotten a lot better — I thought I was good at defense and they’ve been teaching me a lot of stuff about defense. So I think that’s definitely been a pro about coming here.
PI: Describe this past summer — what were you able to show coaches and evaluators on the 3SSB circuit?
CS: I think I really showed that I’m able to stretch the floor as a player. I was knocking down a lot of shots and shot a good percentage from 3 during the circuit games and I think that was something I really showed. Also defensively, I was able to guard a lot of people and I took a lot of charges which is something coaches don’t see a lot so I think that really boosted my stock up.
PI: How has playing for Southern Assault helped develop you on and off the court?
CS: That program is really good, I respect all of those guys. They really taught me a lot about basketball and that was probably the first team that really taught me how to play defense so I really appreciate them and I recommend anybody in Dallas to go to Southern Assault.
PI: How surreal has it been to be getting all of this attention from college programs?
CS: I think honestly it’s been a blessing. My sister went through the same process with volleyball, she goes to Stanford, so she went through a lot of the same stuff. It was a little different for me with COVID-19, a lot of zoom calls, but it was honestly a blessing to get a lot of love from all of the schools.
PI: What were the most important factors in your college decision?
CS: I think one of the main things was just the coaching staff in general. A lot of schools wanted to be able to form relationships with all of the coaches, like outside of basketball I could talk to them and link on a different level. And obviously, one of the main things for me was just a school that has both basketball and academics. The best of both worlds just in case I get injured or something horrible happens I always have something to fall back on.
PI: Without further adieu, where will you be attending college?
CS: I’ll be attending Vanderbilt University.
PI: What set Vanderbilt apart? What made them different from the rest of your options?
CS: I think I just clicked there whenever I visited since the first time. I clicked with the players and with Coach Jerry Stackhouse. He's down to earth, like as a former NBA player you wouldn’t expect him to be like that, you’d expect him to be cocky or something, but he’s the opposite of that. He’s selfless and I think of myself as selfless, too, so I think we clicked on that level. Also the school itself, the location is great, Nashville, Tennessee. The people and the city are nice. The academics are obviously top in the country.
PI: What was Vanderbilt’s most consistent message to you throughout the recruiting process? What did they try to convey?
CS: They just made sure I knew I was going to be someone they use as a versatile forward. Play two, three, four, whatever they need me to do. They told me I’d be able to affect the game in many ways.
PI: What was Coach Stackhouse’s reaction when you told him?
CS: I told him the second time I went and he was super excited. They were all waiting outside the door and they came in just cheering and stuff. It was definitely a surreal moment just getting that off your chest.
PI: Did you get to know any of the current or former Vanderbilt players during the recruiting process?
CS: Yeah I’m real close with Jordan Wright on the team, I talk to him a lot through DM’s and stuff. We’re definitely close.
PI: Who did you turn to for guidance during the process? What advice did they share with you?
CS: I think I leaned on my sister a lot — she went through it before me so she was trying to form those relationships with coaches because sometimes you just want to find the real with them...sometimes they want to put on a front, but she just made sure I knew that. That was the main thing I really picked up from her.
PI: Was she disappointed about you not choosing Stanford?
CS: Oh no, she did not want me to go, it was the opposite. She did not want me to be on the same campus as her [laughs].
PI: How do you see your role at the next level?
CS: Just someone who is versatile and impacts the game both ways. A two-way player who can get it done on both offense and defense.
PI: What will be your focus between now and when you get to campus?
CS: I think the main thing is I’m going to definitely start looking at the offense a lot more. Calling Coach Stackhouse a lot more and asking him what I can learn before I get there just so I’m ready. Just trying to get as prepared as possible so I can get in and make an impact immediately.
PI: You mentioned academics as being an important factor in your decision — what do you think you’ll major in?
CS: I’m still thinking about that, but I know I want to do something in Business/Economics, but also in the back of my mind that’s connected to sports. I’m going to find something.
PI: Lastly, do you have any message for the Vandy fans who are thrilled about your commitment?
CS: I’m just excited to get back on campus and cause an impact immediately and hopefully get a lot of wins there.