Roscoe Smith is a 6’8” rising senior forward from Baltimore, Maryland. Equipped with a 7’1” wingspan, the two-time all-Baltimore selection is set to attend Oak Hill for his final season. In an interview with Blue Devil Nation, Smith talks about the transition to Oak Hill, his father’s decision to help keep him off of the streets, and his conversation with Mike Krzyzewski.
How did you come to the decision to choose Oak Hill?
I just sat down with my mother and father and, you know, just went over what we thought about Oak Hill. It was a recent decision…maybe two or three weeks ago…right after school finished.
Did you visit the school with you family?
Oh, no, I haven’t gone down there, but I’ve talked with players like Doron Lamb. He told me about the basketball and scenery and all that. He told me it was just basketball nonstop. That was my number one goal because, coming out of a public school, we only play, like, sixteen games. And me making that transition to college, where we might be playing forty games in forty nights, is gonna make it easier.[private]
I went down there once. It was impressive to see all the jerseys hanging around the gym. You go from having to be “the man” at Walbrook to one of several excellent players on Oak Hill. How do you think your game will change or the mentality that you bring to the court will change?
I was always confident in myself at Walbrook, but I never tried to think too much of myself. I tried to get my teammates involved and be part of the team.
But they relied on you so much and, at Oak Hill, you’ll be playing with several other very talented teammates.
But I got Coach Steve Smith and some upcoming players and I’m just going to come there and play my role and play my position. I’m not going to ask for much and I’m going to do whatever is asked of me. I’m just going to learn. I’m just going to have playing games. Whatever Steve Smith and the team needs of me, I’m going to do it. Score, rebounds, block shots, whatever. I’m just having fun.
Excited about the chance to play with some great players, improve your game, and get to travel around the country?
Yeah, especially at Oak Hill, now I’m going to be part of their history now.
So, you want to follow in the footsteps of another Baltimore and Oak Hill guy, Carmelo Anthony.
Over the last two seasons, you made all-Metro in Baltimore and went to the semi-finals. What team and individual goals do you have for the upcoming season?
My individual goal are just to be successful. To be the best I can be at the game of basketball. My team goals are to win the national championship and for everybody to get better and learn.
Have you made any visits or are you planning any visits?
Yes, I’m planning on taking a couple of visits towards the start of the Oak Hill season. My unofficial visits…that’s the time when I’ll make my visits.
Do you have any schools that will definitely be on your official visits at this point?
Not really, because, right now, I’m still open. Coaches know that and I still talk to a whole bunch of coaches, but, after this, I will be narrowing my choices down and letting the coaches know that.
After this weekend or next week?
Just a couple of weeks from now…or probably a week and a half from now. Let it settle down…start at Oak Hill and then I will be taking my official visits.
You are one of the unique kids here in that you haven't played a lot of AAU ball this year and none the year before in order to concentrate on other things. How did you come to the decision that it would be better for you to not spend your time running around the country participating in AAU events and, instead, concentrate on skill development and preparing for the SATs?
I tried to do something a little different and, you know, obviously it seems to have paid off. I just tried to stay accomplished on my goals, my accomplishments, my skills….and I think me focusing on my skill work is going to make it a better transition for the college level.
Alright, well, in terms of skill development, what are some things that you’ve noticed that you’ve improved upon since, say, last year? Even if it’s something small…
I got better on my shot, but, When I say skill work, I don’t just mean that. I mean working on my confidence, my mentality, my hunger, you know what I’m saying.
I got better on my shot too. I got better confidence-wise. I got more better on my dribble. I dribble harder and tighter.
How’s your handle right now?
It’s way better. I can dribble it harder or away from defenders. I feel a lot more confident in it and, like, I can protect my dribble…just being more confident out there. Getting ready for college and working on my SAT.
Have you taken the SAT yet?
No, not yet. I’m going to wait until I get to Oak Hill.
You’re grades are good enough that you’re going to be eligible, right?
Oh, yes, yes.
Do you have a timeline for when would you like to decide?
Yeah, I’m going to announce my like four or five and then, when I get down there to school, I’m going to visit my schools, you know. I’ll be able to assess the other players they have and be around the coaches and the facilities…and then I’ll be able to make my decision.
I remember last year you said that you wanted someone who had your best interests in mind when the basketball stops bouncing
Yeah, like, when I throw a basketball in the air, it eventually stops dribbling…So, when I go to a college.
God forbid, if something happens.
Yeah, God forbid, first of all, I want to have a coach that’s going to be a coach, but also one that’s going to make me into a better man. Someday, I want to be a father and take good care of my son. I want my coach to teach me everything, not just how to play basketball.
Do you work on adding strength? Cardio?
I ain’t hitting the weights yet. I’m doing push ups. Like, this week I’m doing twenty-five and next week I’m upping it to thirty. Each week I’m trying to up it. I want to get that lean muscle. It sounds simple, but, over time, hopefully I’ll get that lean muscle
This is your second major sneaker camp. You have a better idea of what to expect. Can you talk about how your expectations and goals have changed since when you arrived last year?
Oh, yeah, last year, I didn’t know what to expect. One thing I was trying to go over before I came was what exactly I did last summer and just going outside… you know, by myself, and just shooting and going over stuff
Where are shooting? In a high school gym, Bentalou (Rec. Center), or on the playgrounds?
On the playgrounds…it doesn’t matter if it’s in the morning or one at night for me. This year, I’ve been getting more respect and giving the ball up more too.
Last year, you were saying that there were a lot of egos to deal with here.
Yeah, like LeBron said at the banquet yesterday, if people don’t know who you are, they’re going to hunt you down. They are going to hunt you down. Like right now, people are going to be all smiling and nice, but tonight it’s going to be every man for themselves. You know, even for me, if I don’t know who you are or I’ve never played against you, I’m just going to test his will and test his heart. That’s just the way it is. You’ve got to make a name for yourself.
What are you hoping to accomplish during this camp?
First of all, I’m not really trying to make a name for myself because I feel as though I’ve already done that. I’m trying to get in my skill work and set goals…and, you know, my biggest goal right now is trying to figure out where I want to go to college. I’ve already got all the colleges interested in me and now I’ve got to figure out the big one.
Have you taken any unofficial visits, other than the Georgetown one?
I’ve only taken, like, one unofficial visit and that was way back. That was at , like, Georgetown. That was my one unofficial visit. I had a good time. I ate with them and watched a game too.
Will you be taking any more before you arrive at Oak Hill?
Yeah, I’ll probably try to visit one or two before I get to Oak Hill
Your father, Brian, is mentioned often in articles about you. Will he be the most important person to help guide you through the whole recruiting process? Who are some other people that you might turn to?
I give all my thoughts and prayers to my father. None of this would’ve been possible without him. He was the one to put the ball in my hands. He was the one that stuck with me on the tough days…because it hasn’t always been sunny days. There’ve been plenty of rainy days and he’s sometimes critical, but I love him to death. My mother and father are going to help with my decision, but, at the end of the day, it’s going to come down to me. Number one.
Give the readers a scouting report on Roscoe Smith. What kind of player are you?
My strengths are my mid-range, my rebounding, my communication, and my enthusiasm. My weaknesses…I feel as though I don’t have none because all summer I’ve been working on getting better. I feel as though all my weaknesses have gotten better.
How about your defense and rebounding?
Oh, right now, if I was someone else and I was playing me, I’d be scared. I’ve got a 7’1” wingspan, you know. Nobody really can compete if I get my arms out. They’re not really getting around me or whatever. If you get a shot over me and make it, that’s a good shot. I congratulate you because you’ve really been working on your shot.
Last year, you said you wanted to be a gorilla on the boards.
Yeah, Carmelo. That’s why I’m wearing the headband. I’m trying to play the game the same way as him. Also Kevin Durant.
Yes, because now, when you mention basketball, a smile just comes over my face. Life has it’s…
Yeah, it’s a good thing and, you know, I’m doing more things. I’m shooting the ball. I’m slashing and rebounding and assisting and d-ing guys up. The number one thing is I’m sacrificing much more. I’m telling the coach, “Yeah, put me in the second group or let me defend the toughest guy. Let me come off of the bench.”
Yeah, just playing we-ball, not me-ball.
Well, the coaches love that and the players love that too.
I love him with all my heart. You know, with the streets…um, he didn’t really have a lot growing up. When he was a child, he got caught up in the crowd and, you know, he just didn’t want me to….It was a big thing.
Yeah, real smart. He just wanted to put me around people that that can help me be productive
Yeah, like I said, the basketball is going to stop bouncing.
I love it. I call it my sweet spot is on the left side. I love to catch it on the left side. I’ve got a lot of moves on the left side. I feel like the angle of the goal is shaped funny for me on the left side. I don’t know whatever it is, but I see the goal better on that side. I’m not sure why.
When I talked to Krzyzewski, it was a stop of a moment. I mean it was like time just stopped. He’s got a Chicago accent and he was joking. He was saying, if you’re looking for me at the LeBron, I’m the skinny guy with the black hair and the nose (laughing). He’s got a great sense of humor.