Jabari Smith Undecided On Declaring For 2022 NBA Draft

NBA Draft Rumors, Jabari Smith
NBA Analysis Network

This 2022 NCAA Tournament has been full of upsets from the first day of things getting started. One of those teams that suffered an upset was the Auburn Tigers despite having elite 2022 NBA Draft prospect Jabari Smith.

Auburn, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region, was defeated in their Round of 32 game by the 10th seeded Miami Hurricanes, who defeated the No. 7 seeded USC Trojans in the Round of 64. It was a sizable upset for Miami, who executed their game plan of taking Jabari Smith out of his comfort zone to perfection.

Smith, a likely top-3 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, who is projected by many people to be the No. 1 overall selection, had one of the worst games of his collegiate career. He scored 10 points to go along with 15 rebounds, four assists and three blocks, but he struggled with a Miami defense whose goal was to take him out of the game.

Smith shot 3-of-16 from the floor, including 1-of-8 from 3-point range. The Hurricanes constantly double-teamed him and the disruption that it caused aided in them picking up a 79-61 victory. They set the tone in the first half when Smith was 2-of-10 overall and 0-of-4 from distance. His first basket didn’t come until more than 11 minutes had elapsed in the game.

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One game isn’t going to change his standing in the eyes of NBA scouts. He will still be a top pick should he declare for the 2022 NBA Draft. Right now, however, following the emotional loss to Miami, his future is unclear.

When asked about his future following the game, Smith was non-committal. He said he didn’t know yet, but his head coach, Bruce Pearl, spoke highly of him after the game as if he knows he will not be back at Auburn next season.

“He’s such a great competitor and such a great teammate,” Pearl said. “He truly does love his teammates…. He’s been raised right. He’s got fantastic parents. He’s got great people around him. His AAU coaches, his high school coaches, his mentors — he’s got it all. He really does. He’s not selfish. He’s hard-working. He’s disciplined. He’s got his routine.

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“He’s a pro. He had a great experience at Auburn, and he made history at Auburn. So, I’m obviously very, very proud of him.”

Talking in the past tense as Pearl did would make it seem like Smith will be moving on and announcing that decision sooner than later. Smith and any underclassmen considering putting their name into the 2022 NBA Draft will have until April 24th to do so.

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Jabari Smith will likely be putting his name into the draft pool, as he is a consensus top-three selection. It would be quite shocking if he decided to remain with the Auburn Tigers for another season, passing up on the millions of dollars that come with being a top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.