New Hampton junior forward Evan Smotrycz gave Beilein his verbal commitment today.
The 6-foot-9 big man transferred from Reading, MA to New Hampton and reclassified to the class of 2010. His first year at New Hampton reportedly went quite well despite hitting a couple bumps in the road:
“I can’t say enough about Evan as a player and as a young man and college coaches are really high on him,” said New Hampton coach Pete Hutchins. “He was one of two players on the team this year who weren’t PG’s, but when he was healthy he was our second leading scorer.”
The multi-versatile 6-9 wing player averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds for a team that just missed out on making the playoffs with a 14-16 record, although Smotrcyz missed some time early in the season due to a bout of mono and an injured ankle.
“It was tough at the beginning of the year because I was actually playing through mono and didn’t know it,” Smotrcyz admitted. “Then after the mono I had an ankle injury so I guess there was some turmoil to start the year, but I got through it and found my groove a little. I got into a pretty good flow and was definitely happy with my first year.”
The first place most people like to look when evaluating a recruit is his school list. Evan has offers from Northwestern, Oregon State, and South Florida but is also garnering interest from a number of high majors:
Northwestern, Oregon State, Rice and South Florida have all offered while ones who are close and/or have expressed serious interest in the local talent are Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan, Boston College and Florida.
At the NPSI this Winter, Smotrycz showed why coaches love him:
While Smotrycz finished with 18 points & 10 rebounds, how he got those numbers were even more impressive. He knocked down a one-dribble step-back three-pointer, went to the low block and showed a polished jump hook, got to the rim off the dribble a few times, and even rebounded in traffic.
He was also mentioned in a recent update from the New England Recruiting Report as someone whose stock is rising:
One of the most accurate sayings we have ever heard about prep school basketball is this, “there is a fine line between exposure and exposed”. So many players transfer to the NESCAC only to find their level of success reduced by the higher level of competition. It was just the opposite for Smotrycz who raised his game to a new level in his first season at New Hampton.
It is pretty clear that Smotrycz is not a back to the basket player, he appears to be much more of a “Beilein four” who can shoot it and put it on the floor. In a recent profile, his coach breaks down his game like this:
“College coaches see Evan as a small forward or even a power forward, but he’s not a back-to-the-basket type of player,” said Hutchins. “He can do so many things on the floor and at 6-9 he can be as good as he wants to be.
“I’ll be looking forward to next season where he’ll be the leader of our team.”
Looking at the scouting sites we are left with a bit of a mixed bag in terms of reviews. ESPN loves his game, as you can see by this glowing report from Feburary 2009, and gives him an 86 rating. Rivals has not evaluated Smotrycz and Scout lists him as a 2-star prospect.
There is a lot to like here — just about everyone that has posted a first hand account of Smotrycz’ game seems to have come away impressed. Reading the various scouting reports it’s tough to come away saying anything but “that’s a Beilein guy”. As previously mentioned the NESPAC class A is a very tough league and Evan went up against quality competition night in and night out despite being 17 years old.
The immediate question is what does this mean for the rest of the class of 2010? There are obviously limited scholarships and Michigan had appeared to be in very good shape for New York big man Will Regan and a number of wing forwards.
Luckily Smotrycz’ and Regan’s games appear to be very different — Regan appears to be more of an inside guy while Smotrycz likes to play on the wing. Michigan clearly needs at least one wing in this class but they have two more scholarships available. Would Michigan take Regan and Smotrycz? I think that they are different enough players that offering both would make perfect sense.
I am excited to bring Smotrycz into the fold and it’s a great start to the class of 2010. He is an intriguing prospect that has “Beilein” written all over him and he has the potential to have a huge spring and summer on the AAU circuit.