Niles North’s, Aquan Smart, is putting up video game stats to begin his senior season. The recent East Tennessee State de-commit has his team off to a hot start while being the focal point for every opposing team.
How ridiculous has Aquan been the past few games?
How about this…
30 point game — 27 points in the 3rd quarter alone!
34 point game with 6 steals!
38 point game — 20 in the 4th quarter alone!
Aquan’s Niles North squad early success is in large part to his hot start. These wild scoring games are coming against tough opponents, too. Aquan would be the first one to tell you that this a team effort, but we can’t ignore the gaudy numbers he’s posted recently.
Aquan’s grassroots team, Pure Prep, played in our RecruitLook Hoops League in 2019 — we know that he’s one of the best guards in the country. He began last April with a few Division One programs interested and stating they’ll keep tabs on him. At the time of his verbal commitment to Coach Forbes at ETSU, Aquan had 10+ division one offers! Now that he has de-committed, he’s been hearing from: Texas, Indiana, DePaul, Iowa State, Northwestern and others.
His stock was high then… and it’s only getting higher!
2020 PG Aquan Smart has just verbally committed to East Tennessee State University, he tells Recruit Look Hoops.
Smart, who plays for Niles North High School in Illinois, joins 6’7” F Cam Bryant of Dutchtown High School in Georgia as ETSU’s lone commitments in the 2020 class.
Smart officially visited ETSU on September 6th, making the call for the Buccaneers just 3 weeks later. Smart chose ETSU over a number of schools, including FIU where he took an official visit to just last weekend.
Several schools were vying for his services including high major programs Iowa State and Ole Miss who were trying to jump in the recruitment late. This comes off as a huge win for Coach Steve Forbes and the staff at ETSU.
Coach Forbes’ message to Smart during his recruitment was simple, “He was going to put me in the right position to succeed.”
So why ETSU over the other schools, especially Iowa State and Ole Miss? Two things stood out to Smart, “Family environment and the coaches.”
“I felt like I was ready to make this decision. Those are great schools but you never know what the possibilities of those things are,” said Smart regarding the interest from Iowa State and Ole Miss.
Smart wants Buccaneers fans to know that they’re getting a player that’s always going to give 110%.
“I’m an exciting player that loves to win. I’ll do anything for my team and coaches.”
Although his recruitment is over that’s not going to stop him from trying to get more talented players to join him and Bryant next season. For the players who are considering ETSU, Smart wants them to know two things.
“We’re going to be special and shock the world.”
I was first able to see Aquan in the spring and he immediately caught my eye as someone I needed to continue to watch. He is tenacious on both ends of the floor and is always in attack mode when on offense. Quick and decisive score first point guard with incredible court vision and always looks to get his teammates involved as well. Aquan displays great athleticism, which helps him succeed on the defensive end as well. The next step for him is becoming more consistent as a shooter, but he is more than capable of knocking down the three-pointer at a consistently high rate.Tyler Simpson – Recruit Look Hoops
Pure Prep Hoops based out of Iowa has been a staple of Recruit Look Hoops leagues for the last few years and will continue to be. We were able to catch up with the program about what separates our league from the others for independent teams, our elite camp, and what players boosted their stock the most from our events.
What’d you like about our league this year?
I thought it was good. It was well organized, and had great coverage. Brought some coaches out for my teams. A lot of my guys got looks that I don’t think would have in different leagues. Being an independent team and all, it was phenomenal.
How did you think the competition was for the league?
Shoot, being an independent team it was great. Every team that we played against had several high-level players on their team. At all levels too, 15, 16, and 17.
Did your players benefit pretty well from it then?
Yeah, we had one really high level player in Xavier, but we had a few under the radar players that really blew up. That was a great benefit for us.
You were talking about your players blowing up and boosting your stock, who do you think received the most of that from your team due to the RecruitLook Hoops League?
Two of my players got a really good boost. Aquan was known, but he didn’t have any offers entering the spring but that changed when we played in your league. Then Caleb Haag, he missed that first live period, and if you miss that then no one really knows you. He played in the second live period in Georgia and the Sunflower Showcase and now he has five offers.
How about your younger teams?
Yeah, we’re going to be really loaded for years to come. We’ve got several players on our younger teams already receiving looks from division one programs.
You guys are going to participate in the league next year, right?
Absolutely! We love it.
Is there anything with the league or your team that looking back on it, you would change?
I don’t think so. The locations were great. Great competition at all of them. Kansas City is the hub. Atlanta in the end and then capping it off in Kansas City was great. Budget wise with everything in the area, it just really helped us financially. Only taking one trip that was really out of range in Georgia, but everything worked out well. Being in Kansas City and being right next to the UA event, being in Georgia with UA, Adidas, and Nike right there as well, that was awesome. That was a boost for us.
You said the locations were good, if we kept the same locations next year would you say that would be good for the league?
Yeah, I’m not opposed to it. The circuits switch up locations every year, and traveling isn’t a problem. The locations were great due to them bringing all the coaches out.
Heading into next AAU season, what’s something you’re looking forward to?
Just creating new opportunities. Seeing what’s new to the league, and I hope all the teams that were in it last year return. I know there will be new faces, but for the most part the Sunflower Showcase shows that you have a really great league and competition and it brought out the coaches, a lot of Division Two coaches. I think it opened some eyes to those other independent teams.
If you had to say something to the teams who are thinking about joining the league but haven’t yet, what would that be?
That we had success. I mean, look at Xavier and look at Quan. Just look at the second session in Kansas City. We brought Duke in the gym. It just shows that you don’t need to join a shoe circuits second tier league like UA Rise, and the lower Adidas leagues. Plus, you’ve got the cream of the crop with the Larry Hughes Elite Camp. You can’t beat that.
What were your overall thoughts on the Elite Camp?
I’ll be honest with you, it was an eye opener. You know, having Xavier and being at Pangos, USA Camps, and NBA 100 camps the last few years, and then coming out and experiencing the Larry Hughes Elite Camp, the talent level was there. I was very impressed with the talent that you guys brought out. You guys evaluated well, you researched, and just did a masterful job of bringing some high level talent in. The camp was ran smoothly and the technology used made the camp just rose the camp above everything else.
If we did another Larry Hughes Elite Camp, is that something you’d want your players to compete in?
Oh absolutely. Because it brings the best out in those players. It gives them something to go back and say, “Okay, what do I need to improve on” and plus those coaches call you guys saying “how did this guy play?” and that’s going to get them more exposure. It’s going to blow up, writers are going to come out from everywhere and cover it because you can’t deny the talent that was there.