Not many high school basketball players in America were climbing the recruiting ladder this summer like Las Vegas High’s Re’Kwon Smith.
The 6-foot-8-inch small forward, who is an undeclared five-star prospect in the class of 2015, turned heads everywhere he went and was quickly becoming a top priority for college coaches.
But now the standout will have to put his plans on hold after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament Thursday night at the adidas Unrivaled Camp in Chicago.
“It’s unfortunate timing,” said Clayton Williams, Smith’s coach with Dream Vision AAU on the travel circuit. “Everything was going so well for him. He was having a great summer, maybe the best of anyone in the country.”
According to Smith’s father, Bobby, his son’s final high school season is doubtful.
“As of today I would say he’s not going to play the high school basketball season,” Bobby Smith said. “If he comes back, it would be toward the end of the playoffs.”
Last season as a junior, Smith averaged 24.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.0 steals and was selected first-team all-state after leading the Wildcats to the Sunrise Region championship game.
He is ranked the No. 10 prospect on Rivals.com and No. 26 in the ESPN 100 rankings, behind Bishop Gorman big men Stephen Zimmerman (6) and Chase Jeter (13).
In May, Smith narrowed his college choices to Arizona, Arizona State, California, Georgetown, Louisville, Oregon, Southern California, Texas, UCLA and Wake Forest. Despite the injury, coaches remain interested, according to Bobby Smith.
“I talked to a couple of coaches recruiting him, and they said it was fine,” he said. “I thought they would be alarmed, but all they said was, ‘When he gets back, we still want him.’ It’s not as devastating as it used to be, so the offers are still on the table.”
Las Vegas High was expected to compete for the state title in Smith’s senior season.
“I don’t think it’s hit him yet,” Bobby Smith said. “I think it’s slowly kicking in. He’s devastated like everyone else. Ray was the story of the summer. Everywhere you looked, it was basically how he came from nowhere to be in the top 10 in a couple of rankings. He worked his butt off. It’s just sad that one little move could end all of that. We’re disappointed, but he’s a tough kid and he’s going to rehab this and get stronger.”
Recovery time for a torn ACL ranges from four to eight months. Smith’s father said surgery would be done “as soon as possible” once they get back to Las Vegas.
Williams remained optimistic about Smith’s future.
“Knowing Ray, he will come out even better than ever,” he said. “He’s a high-spirited kid. You can’t bet against him.”
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0430. Follow af_ferguson on Twitter.