5-star 2022 guard Nick Smith Jr. no longer considering UNC

Nick Smith Jr., one of the top wings in the 2022 recruiting class, has narrowed his list of schools and professional opportunities. That updated list doesn’t include North Carolina, though.

The 5-star combo guard announced his top eight today, which includes college programs Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas, along with NBL and Overtime Elite.

For now, it seems like Smith intends to play college basketball; however, that could change. Going abroad, the NBL has been an important prep-to-pro pathway in recent years. Overtime Elite continues to gather steam as well.

It’s still fairly early in the process, but college programs will continue to recruit against stuff like Overtime Elite or the G League Ignitre. Obviously, it’s great for the players; they have more options than ever before. With NIL now a factor in college sports, too, athletes can tap into money before they even sign with a domestic professional team.