In the lead-up to the NBA Draft on June 21, BSN Denver is taking an in-depth look at prospects the Nuggets might target in the first round. Each draft profile will be accompanied by a podcast available on BSNDenver.com and wherever you normally download your podcasts from. To submit questions for the podcast, reply in the comments section at the bottom of this story.

THE BASICS

Zhaire Smith — Guard — Texas Tech

NBA Role: Glue guy with all-star potential if he learns how to dribble

Player Comparison: Shorter, bouncier Andre Roberson

Zhaire Smith dunked a basketball for the first time in eighth grade. The Garland, Texas, native was still in middle school when he completed the act anyone who laces up a pair of basketball shoes aspires to. Since then, the 19-year-old has committed hundreds of assaults on the rim.

Smith’s 41 1/2-inch max vertical is one reason why he’s gone from unheralded college basketball recruit to potential NBA lottery pick in about a year’s time. Smith wasn’t even ranked among Rivals’ Top 150 players. On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated predicted he’d go 17th overall to the Milwaukee Bucks in its latest mock draft.

“It’s crazy how things can change in one year,” Smith said after a pre-draft workout with the Nuggets on Wednesday. “But with all the hard work I’ve put in, I’m not that surprised. It’s a blessing to be in this position.”

Of all the dunks Smith’s thrown down in his career, the 360 alley-oop he pulled off in the NCAA Tournament Round of 64 game against Stephen F. Austin is his favorite.

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Christian Clark
Author

Christian Clark is an Arlington, Texas, native who covers the Denver Nuggets for BSN Denver. Education: I graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism in December 2014 with an emphasis in print and digital news. Career: My work has been featured in the Fort Worth-Star Telegram, The Oklahoman and Columbia Missourian, and online at TexasFootball.com and Denverite.com. I came aboard at BSN Denver in November 2017. Most memorable sports moment: Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals. The finest sports book I’ve ever read: Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger. One sports movie I can’t live without: Tin Cup, do not @ me Most memorable experience as a reporter: The quadruple-OT game between the Nuggets and Trail Blazers. The sport that started it all: Basketball. My sports-watching memories kick in with those early-2000s Dallas Mavericks teams. They had bad hair and scored a lot of points. Shout-out to Nellie Ball.

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