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Mark Smith speaks on his escalated recruitment

Smith has gained a lot of interest since winning player of the year awards in Illinois.

It has been a crazy recruiting process for Edwardsville’s Mark Smith since his senior season came to an end.

After winning the Gatorade Player of the Year in Illinois, as well as Illinois’ Mr. Basketball award, the interest in Smith has skyrocketed. Kentucky and Michigan State jumped into the mix since he won those two awards.

Smith recently spoke on how much more serious his recruitment has gotten in an interview with Advantage News.

For Smith, the sharp increase in interest has been crazy. His mother’s phone is blowing up every day, according to Advantage News.

But despite the heightened interest he’s receiving, he doesn’t think he’s at his best yet. And now he’s got plenty of options to decide where he’ll be at his best.

“I feel like I’m just starting to get to another level and I feel like once I get to college and I start lifting every day and work on my basketball every day for the whole summer and fall, I’ll see a big increase in my game,” Smith said.

“I’m just trying to find an environment where I can fit in and a place I can develop at; where I can make an impact immediately as a freshman. Obviously the head coach matters, that I trust the head coach and he has that trust in me. That’s really what I’m looking for in a school.”

It’s not likely that Smith would get a ton of minutes at Kentucky, given all the talent in the backcourt that has already been recruited. However, Kentucky has a lot of holes to fill at the guard spots, and Calipari is obviously more likely to play freshmen than any other coach, so Smith would still find his time to make that impact he wants to make.

Smith said that he might have a decision by the Spring signing day (April 12), but if not his decision would come shortly thereafter.

You can read the rest of the interview with Advantage News here, which details his conversations with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, his relationship with the now-fired Tom Crean and more.