Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
Angel Smith a Top Rank Showcase Orlando invitee and a 6’6” guard out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida is having a spectacular season for Cardinal Gibbons. Smith who is coming back from a concussion and back sprain is still playing at a high level while his team is competing for a spot in the state tournament come this week. Smith and the Cardinal Gibbons team are looking for some revenge against Dillard, who beat them in the district championship game last week. Dillard, the reigning state champions are one of the best teams in the state, as well as Cardinal Gibbons. Smith expects to have a different outcome than the last time they met and said it all falls on executing the game plan. Dillard, who has Florida State commit RaiQuan Gray, will be the main focus of who to stop for Smith and Cardinal Gibbons. Smith spoke in detail with me about how they plan to stop Dillard, contain Gray, his goals for the AAU season and the Orlando event, and even his all-time starting five!
Angel, how’s it going?
Everything’s going good, about to hit the gym in a few.
Great. How’s the season going for you? It’s district season, correct?
Yeah, we just lost by two yesterday in the district championship. It has been going good since I came back from an injury, had a great game last night.
Who’d you guys lose to? What type of injury are you coming back from?
Dillard, and a concussion and back sprain.
Tough injuries to come back from, Dillard must be a pretty good team then?
Yeah, they won states last year. We have another shot at them next week though.
Nice. Are they just a super strong team or do they have a player that really stands out?
One standout player, the rest are bigs and role players.
Who’s the player?
RaiQuan Gray, committed to Florida State.
Just saw that, so it’s normally a pretty good game against Dillard I’m assuming?
Yep, but they are always the favorite to win.
I can see why. When playing Dillard what’s your normal thoughts going into the game? How you can get the win and stop Gray? You said they have some bigs too, do you guys have anyone with size to combat that?
My thoughts are usually just to come in and dominate and stay in attack mode, be the leader on the court. Stopping Gray we just have to buy in with our defense and force him to put the ball on the floor. That’s our downside and upside, we are a smaller team and have no natural bigs, but we are quicker and faster than them so we try and push the ball every chance we get.
An up tempo team that likes to run in transition can do wonders. Hopefully you guys can get your revenge against them. What AAU team do you play for?
We will and Team Breakdown.
You run on the UAA, correct?
How do you like the UAA?
It’s good, the traveling, great experience, and the facilities we play in are great too.
I just looked at your guys’ roster from last season of the UAA, didn’t realize you played with Elijah Weaver, Tai Strickland, and Anfernee Simmons. How is it playing with those guys? Elijah and Tai will be at our Orlando event, that will be fun as well.
It’s great playing with those guys. They compete every game and in practice we are always pushing each other. This event should be fun!
Yes it should, I’m excited for it. Lots of talent coming in! What are your goals for the event?
I’m a competitor so really just to come in and compete at a high level, play hard, and have fun.
Always a good thing to do. Have you been hearing from any schools?
Yes, a few have been keeping in contact with me.
Tennessee, VMI, Georgia Southern, and Stetson. Some others keep in contact with my coach as well.
Awesome. Out of those schools who have contacted you, what has been their message to you before they offer you?
Keep doing what I’m doing, they are coming down to see me play.
Any upcoming trips planned or just waiting on that?
Just waiting on that.
Nothing wrong with that at all. If you could go to any school in the country, where would you go and why?
It’s between UCLA and Kentucky. They have put a lot of guys in the league in the last couple of years and I’m a big fan of Calipari. My goal is to go pro one day and I think going there would help out a lot.
Both great schools, especially with Cal’s track record of putting kids in the league. Do you have a favorite player to watch both NBA and College?
Yeah, Markelle Fultz and James Harden. My favorite player is Kevin Durant though.
Fultz is unbelievable, wish he wasn’t on Washington. Do you try to model your game after them as well?
Yeah, I watch a lot of film on Fultz. How he’s always in attack mode and can score at every level, also his creativity and passing.
He’s got a real good shot at going number one in the draft. There is some amazing freshman talent this year.
Yup, Malik Monk is a guy I like to watch too. The freshmen are really good this year.
Who’s your pick to win it all?
I still got faith in Kentucky but probably Kansas.
I like Duke to get to the Final Four.
What’s been the best words of advice you’ve received regarding basketball or anything in general?
To be successful in life it’s going to take a lot of sacrifices and hard work, and I always remember that my mom works hard for me so one day she won’t have to work anymore.
So awesome to hear. Last one, if you had to build an all-time starting five, who would it be?
Magic or Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Tim Duncan, and Shaq.
Always include AI! Pretty insane starting five right there! Thanks for your time Angel! Can’t wait to see you next month in Orlando!
No problem man, appreciate you taking the time to talk!