Summary: Notes: A dominant player in community college who was supposed to transfer to Louisville this year. He helped the Falcons to a 33-4 record and a fourth place finish in the NJCAA National Tournament. Louisville coach Rick Pitino was furious with Smith's decision to turn pro. His CC coach, Todd Franklin, thinks that Smith might just have a chance. "I think he's more prepared than most players coming out. He's a 6-7, 230-pounder who plays the '2' but can be a legitimate point guard. He's got a seven-foot wingspan. I don't know any other guys coming out with a better NBA body than him." The list of players who have recently tried to make the NBA from two-year schools is littered with players like Qyntel Woods, Kedrick Brown, Ernest Brown, Cory Hightower and Tim Cole who haven't panned out.
Upside: Donta Smith reminded Pitino and many other people of Ron Artest. He's a big time athlete and defender who is tough as nails. Offensively, he's way ahead of where Artest was when he declared. He's a good shooter from the perimeter and can put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. He also uses his strength to post players up. The most impressive attribute of Smith is his ball handling and passing. Several scouts believe that he has the ability to be a point forward in the pros. He already has an NBA body and has a 7-foot-1 wingspan.
Downside: Experience and a tattered legacy for junior college kids who go straight to the pros. Remember, Kedrick Brown went No. 11 and Qyntel Woods went No. 21. The fact that Pitino trashed Smith hasn't helped things either. On the basketball side of things, scouts claim that while he's a very good athlete, he doesn't have bouncy vertical.
Insider Projection: Watch him closely. He's under the radar right now, but NBA scouts know about him and like him -- a lot. He's drawing rave reviews at all of his workouts and has a pretty hefty schedule up to the draft. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he ends up somewhere in the late first round.