Tyler Smith was pleasantly surprised twice on college visits, picking up scholarship offers at the end of each.
Ball State and IUPUI like what they’ve seen from the 6-1 Northeastern junior-to-be guard. Smith is a slasher, known for his ability to drive to the basket and make plays for himself and his teammates.
“I didn’t see the offers coming, really,” Smith said. “They were both a little bit of a surprise.”
Smith averaged 16.4 points, 4.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals as a sophomore at Class 2A Northeastern, helping the Knights to a second consecutive sectional title. Northeastern was 22-4 last season, losing to eventual state champion Park Tudor in the regional semifinals.
“It was a really good learning experience making it to the regionals once more,” Smith said. “Not only making the regionals but playing a team that won the whole thing. I think it’ll help us for next year, knowing what it’s like to be there both times.”
Smith is gaining interest from other mid-major programs, though he admits many want to see him shoot more consistently from the perimeter (he was 14-for-53 from the 3-point line as a sophomore). With his 2017 Spiece Indy Heat team, which is playing this weekend at the Best of the Midwest tournament at Best Choice Fieldhouse in Fishers, Smith plays both point guard and shooting guard.
“(Park Tudor) exposed my shot a little bit in the regional but I’ve been working on that this summer,” he said. “Playing (shooting) guard has helped me. I’m getting more shots up than I did last year. Most college coaches like the way I attack the rim but I want to show I can do more than that.”
His visits to Ball State and IUPUI were productive in more ways than one.
“I didn’t realize Ball State is as nice as it is,” he said. “They are in the rebuilding process but are going to be really good. IUPUI is too. They have a great campus. I learned a lot on both visits.”
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>>> Crown Point’s Grant Gelon continued his hot shooting on Friday, hitting five 3-pointers in a win for his Indiana Elite Central 2016 team at the Adidas Three Stripes Alliance in St. Louis. Gelon, a 6-5 senior-to-be, was watched again by Indiana coach Tom Crean. Gelon attracted Crean’s attention last week at the Adidas Invitational. He picked up an offer after the Adidas Invitational from Western Michigan, his first Division I offer.
>>> North Central’s Kris Wilkes had 27 points and 15 rebounds and Southport’s Paul Scruggs added 20 points as the pair’s UA Indy Hoosiers won Friday to advance to Saturday’s championship game at the Under Armour 16U bracket in Atlanta.
>>> The Best of the Midwest tournament finishes up Sunday with championship bracket play at The Fieldhouse in Fishers.