In October 2016, Shalyse Smith let other top recruits know that Arizona was a destination worth considering when she became the first member of the historic 2018 class.
She would be followed by one highly-touted player after another, giving Arizona its best class in program history by the time all was said and done. Just over a year later, she put her name to her letter of intent the day after her 18th birthday.
Smith had a stellar high school career that garnered national attention, but ended up missing her team’s trip to the playoffs last winter due to an ankle injury.
She was cleared to return to the court in April, and began working out at Dam Performance Training in Tacoma. She is expected to be in Tucson within the next few weeks.
In the meantime, let’s get to know a little about her.
Hometown: Tacoma, Washington
High School: Bellarmine Prep
Club Team: Northside Swarm
Position: Small forward/wing
High School Career
Honors and Achievements
- South Puget Sports League (SPSL) MVP for 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. SPSL is part of West Central District 3 in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA).
- 2017-18 Class 4A All-State First Team
- 2017-18 Tacoma News Tribune’s All-Area Player of the Year
- 2015-16 USA Today All-Western Washington Honorable Mention
- 2016-17 USA Today Washington Second Team
- 2017-18 USA Today Washington First Team
- Scored 1,246 points over her four-year varsity career at Bellarmine Prep
- Averaged a double-double in points and rebounds both her junior and senior seasons, and was just 0.3rpg short of doing the same as a sophomore.
- Helped her team to league and district championships in the 2016-17 season. They ended the season third in the state.
- Helped her team earn a berth in the playoffs her senior season, but was unable to play due to an ankle injury.
- Was selected for the Washington State Girls Basketball Coaches Association (WSGBCA) all-state games roster her senior year. These are all-star games that feature seniors from various classifications playing against each other.
- Rated a four-star recruit, the #48 player in the nation and the #7 forward by Prospects Nation
- Rated a three-star recruit and the #14 wing by ESPN HoopGurlz
- Recruiting analysts praise her quickness and ability to penetrate, draw contact and finish in traffic, while pointing out that her perimeter game is still developing. Versatility, length, energy and athleticism are her strong points.
- Film from her junior season. She is #2 in white.
- Film from her senior season. She is #10 in white.
What to expect in 2018-19 and beyond
Smith is a slasher. With her toughness and ability to finish in the paint, she is likely to play behind last year’s all-freshman team forward, Sam Thomas. Smith’s versatility, athleticism and strength on both ends of the court will enable her to play both the three and the four, depending on how big Adia Barnes wants to go.
“She was somebody I recruited back when I was at my old job and she was someone that I knew I wanted to go after,” Barnes said on Signing Day. “She’s versatile, she’s tenacious on offense and defense, she’s a fighter, she’s competitive, she’s athletic, so she is going to give us a really going-to-war-with kid. She’s also a great kid who fits our culture off the court.”
- Her father, James Smith Jr, was murdered in August 2009 when she was only 9 years old.
- She has a tattoo of two hands releasing a dove on her back and another tattoo of her dad’s name on her arm to honor him.
- She honed her game by playing against the son of her mother’s boyfriend when the two were growing up together.
- She played AAU ball for her uncle, who was a high school star in the 1990s.
- She turned 18 on November 7, 2017, the day before national signing day.
- She missed the state playoffs her sophomore year for academic reasons.
- One reason she committed to Arizona is their commitment to her success as a person. Chris Hansen of Prospects Nation quotes her regarding why she felt Arizona was the right fit:
“They cared for me more than just a player. They were the only school that took my transcript and came up with a plan, talked to my counselors, my academic principal and got answers to what I need to do to succeed and I respect that. They show love unconditionally.”