For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2021 prospect Malachi Smith, from The Bronx, New York:
Pro Insight: Can you share a bit about your background and your story?
Malachi Smith: I’m from The Bronx, New York. I go to St. Raymond. I’m a 6-foot guard — I play point guard. Just trying to make it, feed my family and get out of New York. Get my Mom a house.
PI: Have you always played basketball?
MS: Yeah I played basketball since I was like 4, so I’ve been playing for a long time. Had a lot of bad games, good games, played through my mistakes so I’m kind of used to it now.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
MS: No, I didn’t play any other sports.
PI: What attracted you to basketball?
MS: I don’t really know, my pops gave me a ball and just started teaching me. After that I started taking it seriously once I realized I was good. And then just everything took off from there.
PI: What do you like most about the game of basketball?
MS: I think when the crowd gets into it and gets hype. I feel like I feed off of that and it makes me want to play more. I feel like that’s fun for me. When it’s a close game, the pressure, every possession counts, stuff like that. That’s what makes me want to play.
PI: Your brother, Scoochie Smith, played DI basketball. Tell me about your relationship with him?
MS: He went overseas, playing in Serbia, making some money. We been in the gym since I was little so that was like elementary school. He always used to beat me in 1-on-1, beat me up, stuff like that. But you know, that’s my brother. We cool, we don’t really talk now with different time zones in Serbia. But he’s always teaching me, he was helping me through my recruitment, telling me what to look at in colleges, telling me to think about my best fit for me, so he’s been with me the whole ride.
PI: Tell me about the recruitment process and how it has gone for you?
MS: Sophomore year I had mainly low major [offers] and then after this AAU season and this school year, I just started to get a lot of mid-majors. And then the high majors came all at once. I got like five high major [offers] all at once, in like a week. And I was like ‘damn this is crazy.’ They are calling me and stuff like that. And there’s quarantine, no AAU. So it was crazy.
PI: When you started getting mid-major and high-major offers did that change your mindset?
MS: No not really. I felt like my main goal was just to get better every year. And that’s what I did. Freshman year, didn’t have any offers. Sophomore year got low-major. Then junior year, mid and high. I feel like nothing really changed, I just wanted to get better every year and that’s what I did.
PI: When you began this process, what were you looking for in a school?
MS: I just wanted the best fit for me. Where I could play right away, either off the bench or start, just to have a big impact as a freshman. A good coach who trusts me and believes in me and that can get me far in life.
PI: Are you ready to announce your commitment?
MS: Yeah I’m ready, I’m ready. I feel good about this man, 4:00 I’m ready.
PI: Tell us who you are committing to and why?
MS: This year I’ll be committing to Dayton University, head coach Anthony Grant. The main reason I went there is I trust him, he’s African-American, [Naismith College] Coach of the year and you can’t go wrong with that. I trust him, I believe in him and I know he wants the best for me.
PI: Did your brother going to Dayton impact your decision in any way?
MS: No, that didn’t really factor into my decision. It’s my recruitment, not his. He had a different coach, so this is a new coach and I know he wants me, not Scoochie. So I didn’t really think about that.
PI: For the Dayton Flyers fans who might not have seen you play yet, describe your game. What are your greatest strengths?
MS: I’m a playmaker. Defense, two-way. Rebounding guard. I literally do everything; pass, shoot. I make my teammates better. They’re getting a lot next year.
PI: What are the weaknesses, or things you have to improve, in your game?
MS: I would say getting my shot more consistent. Everybody can get their shot more consistent. Getting stronger, that comes in time. And just getting more athletic.