Name: Nicholas Smith
Position: Small Forward/Shooting Guard
Hometown: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
AAU Club: All in Elite and Team Thrill UAA
Nicholas Smith is a 6-1 Small Forward from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Smith is an absolute workhorse for his age group. He’s currently ranked 20th by Coast2Coast Preps and 6th nationally in his class by Top 25 Scouts. Already standing at 6-1 with guard skills, Smith is going to continue to grow as a player with a lot of years behind him. Throughout the interview process, Smith is well beyond his years with his answers and even took the time to communicate with me throughout his busy schedule of when he got backed up. The fact that a younger person knows how to reach out with confidence and leave a good first impression is quite impressive. The kid is going to be a problem. He’s looking at some of the local private high schools and prep schools at possible options for his prep career. But let’s get into it because my bed is calling me. Here is the chosen one, Nicholas Smith.
NICHOLAS SMITH INTERVIEW
When did you start playing basketball?
- “I started playing basketball at the age of six. The first team I played for was called Upward Sports in Camp Hill.”
Describe your game.
- “I believe in hard work when it comes to the game of basketball. I learned at an early age that if I put in the work then the results will show. I am a team first type of player. I truly want any team that I am on to be successful regardless of personal stats. My main skillset as a player is repetition. My schedule doesn’t vary much week to week. I do two-a-days every day Monday through Friday. I am in the gym every morning at 6:00 am with my trainer trying to perfect ball handling, correct shooting form, my three point percentage, free throw percentage, speed and agility, and defensive coverage to name a few then I am back at it with different trainers in the afternoon. Proper repetition and hard work have assisted me in becoming a better player, better teammate, and better person. I get more enjoyment from an assist than I do making a shot. I enjoy helping my teammates be successful.”
With your season getting cancelled last season due to COVID-19, how have you been keeping busy during that time period?
- “At the beginning of COVID-19, I had to make a big adjustment to my training plan because everything was on lock down including the gyms. While the gyms were on lock down, I focused more on my cardio, speed and agility. In the mornings, I would run three miles and walk five miles. In the afternoon, I would run several sprints in my backyard while wearing a parachute to give me some resistance. I would go through ladder and hurdle drills. After that, I would get some shots up on my basketball goal. When some of the COVID restrictions started to be lifted, it was a blessing that I could start training on the outside courts because restrictions on indoor gyms had not been lifted. I started an outside training regimen with Coach Terrell Jones. Ever since indoor gym activities have been reinstated, I have been on my current regimen. I credit Coach Jones and his training plans for keeping me in shape and game ready.”
How was the past AAU season for you?
- “I played for All-In-Elite (AIE) from Harrisburg. AIE played on the Marquee Hoops circuit. The competition was fierce. We had a really talented group of players. It was our first time playing together. It didn’t take us long to click. We built chemistry among ourselves really fast. The coaches were fantastic. Our overall record was a success; however we did fall short of our championship goal. Playing for AIE put me on the national stage. Big shout-out to coaches Lloyd Hill and Dillon Hudson-Emory. Through my hard work, the AIE coaches nominated me for the Chris Paul (CP3) camp. After attending the CP3 camp, my stock really started to rise.”
Being ranked nationally by Coast2Coast preps is an honor. How does it feel to be recognized at an early stage of your career?
- “I am truly honored and thankful to be ranked among the best in the class of 2027. It shows that the hard work is paying off; however, I am neither satisfied nor comfortable. It is my belief to continue to remain humble and continue to work towards higher goals in the game of basketball. Being ranked does put a target on my back and that target does give me a little bit of extra motivation. My main motivation comes from within myself. When it comes to the game of basketball, I am harder on myself than anyone else will be. I strive for the perfect shooting form; I strive to perfect creating space; I strive for a quicker shuffle on defense; I strive to be better at strength and conditioning. I am constantly critiquing my style of play and making changes where needed. I definitely have higher goals to achieve in the game of basketball. My current rankings are just the beginning.”
What does your typical training schedule look like?
- “Training starts early every morning Monday – Friday. I wake up at 5:00 am and start stretching my body. After stretching, I complete a couple of sets of push ups and crunches then I get ready to go to the gym for my morning workout with Coach Jonesy from 6:00 am – 7:30 am. My afternoon and evening trainings are a little bit different. On Monday and Wednesday evenings, I train and practice with Team Thrill (UAA) in Baltimore, MD. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I train with Coach Joe Stasyszyn from Unleased Potential in Carlisle. Friday evenings, I am back in the lab with Coach Jonesy. Saturday and Sunday mornings, I am also with Coach Jonesy but he changes the routine a little bit. I get my pool workouts done on Saturday and Sunday.”
What are some of your favorite hobbies to do off the court?
- “When people see me, they don’t realize that I am in the seventh grade. Based on my height, people automatically assume I am in High School. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and playing video games. I also spend a lot of my downtime with my family. I realize how important it is to spend as much time as possible with my family.”
You’re still at a very early stage of your career. What kinds of things are you doing to make yourself the best player you can be?
- “For me, the most important part of my game at this moment is to be trainable and coachable. My trainers and coaches are constantly teaching me about the game of basketball. They take the time to create new drills, basketball moves, and training plans for me. What I do is listen, follow directions, and execute to the best of my abilities during my training sessions. My trainers are hard on me when they need to be. Most people don’t know how much hard work goes into my craft. It takes constant training with very few days off. Executing during training flows into how well I play the game of basketball. Another thing that I do is film study. My mom or dad records every game and some training sessions. I review film of my games and training sessions with my mom, dad, and Coach Jonesy. In order to become a better player, I know I have to be willing to take the necessary criticism.”
Being regarded as one of the top middle schoolers in the Central Pennsylvania area, how have you been handling your situation and staying poised?
- “My family keeps me grounded. I learned from a very young age to stay humble. Coach Jonesy is always preaching to me to stay humble and keep my circle tight. My routine hasn’t changed. I still do all my chores around the house. I take out the trash. I help my dad cut the grass. I help my mom clean the house. I wash the cars. My mom and dad take the time to drive me to trainings and games. They never complain about it. The least I can do is show my appreciation by continuing to help out around the house. Another thing is that I don’t allow myself to feed into the hype.”
Which athlete do you look up to the most?
- “Russell Westbrook”
Who do you look up to as a role model?
- “My Godfather”
It’s still a whole hot two years, but what are you looking forward once you step forward into high school?
- “I am looking forward to the competition that high school brings. Also, I am looking forward to making new friends and teammates and traveling to the games together on the bus.”
Do you have any words of encouragement or motivation for people?
- “Set goals and make a plan to achieve your goals. Not just with basketball but with anything that people want to do or accomplish. It’s very important to plan. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I wouldn’t be good at basketball without the help of many people to include my family, friends, trainers, teachers, and coaches. Getting into a good routine and following the blueprint of that routine will help achieve your goals. It is very important to always listen and continue to learn. Lastly, don’t be afraid to dream big. We all know there are going to be people that doubt you, don’t let other people’s doubt knock you off of your plans and goals.”