Illinois Mr. Basketball Mark Smith — an emerging UK recruiting target for the class of 2017 — has been added to next week’s Derby Festival Classic, which finalized its rosters Thursday afternoon.
Smith — a 6-foot-5, 225-pound guard from Edwardsville, Ill. — averaged 21.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game this past season, winning his state’s top individual honor after leading his team to a 30-2 record.
Kentucky, which is still looking for at least one more backcourt player to fill out its 2017 recruiting class, has shown some interest in Smith in recent days, and a UK assistant coach was expected to visit with Smith in Illinois on Thursday.
The Derby Classic will be played April 15 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, and UK signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is among the players that had already been announced for the game. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Gilgeous-Alexander, a 6-5 combo guard, signed with the Wildcats last November and will be the first scholarship UK player to appear in the Derby Classic since Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis played in the 2013 game. Brad Calipari, a UK walk-on, played in last year’s showcase.
Also previously announced for this year’s Derby Classic were all four of Louisville’s 2017 signees — Malik Williams, Darius Perry, Lance Thomas and Jordan Nwora — as well as Western Kentucky signee Taveion Hollingsworth, the Paul Laurence Dunbar star and the state’s Mr. Basketball this season.
Hollingsworth is the only Kentucky native among the 22 players in the Derby Classic.
Other big names include UCLA commitment Kris Wilkes — a McDonald’s All-American — and Xavier signee Paul Scruggs, one of the top guards in the country.
Smith and former Indiana signee Aljami Durham — a 6-4 point guard from Georgia — are the only players in the Derby Classic who have not yet committed to a college.
In addition to UK’s interest, Smith has scholarship offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Butler and several other schools.
There is no timetable for Smith’s college announcement.
Tickets for the Derby Classic are $18 in advance ($20 at the door) and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com and by phone through TicketMaster at (800) 745-3000.
Derby Festival Classic rosters
Black team: Malik Williams (Louisville), Darius Perry (Louisville), Lance Thomas (Louisville), Jordan Nwora (Louisville), Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State), Savion Flagg (Texas A&M), Devonte Shuler (Mississippi), Davion Mitchell (Auburn), Chuma Okeke (Auburn), Taveion Hollingsworth (Western Kentucky), Jordan Poole (Michigan).
White team: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky), DJ Harvey (Notre Dame), Justin Smith (Indiana), Ajami Durham (undecided), Naji Marshall (Xavier), Kris Wilkes (UCLA), Ty-Shon Alexander (Creighton), Paul Scruggs (Xavier), Abu Kigab (Oregon), Jacob Epperson (Creighton), Mark Smith (undecided).