Ohio State Offer Would Be “Dream Come True” for Upper Arlington’s Alex Smith, Whose Stock is Rising As 2026 Wing

By Andy Anders on June 9, 2024 at 8:35 am
Alex Smith
Courtesy of Alex Smith

While Ohio State basketball is still trying to find the best investments for its 2025 recruiting class, the stock of a potential local target for 2026 is rising.

In-state wing Alex Smith got his latest boost this week at the Buckeyes’ high school basketball camps, where the Upper Arlington standout gobbled up 20-point games like candy against an array of opponents from Central Ohio. Jake Diebler and multiple assistant coaches, including Joel Justus and Luke Simons, were in frequent conversations with Smith and his family following his scoring outpourings.

“He’s talked to me a little bit about how I’ve improved my game,” Smith told Eleven Warriors of his conversation with Diebler. “We’ve talked about getting back for another visit. He was talking to my parents and we were talking about life and stuff, that’s what’s really great about him is it’s not just about basketball, it’s about other stuff. He’s very authentic. That’s why I like him a lot.”

As Smith sprouted from 6-6 to 6-9 this past year, so too has his chance of earning an offer from the legendary school just down the road from where he’s grown up. 

“It would mean a lot,” Smith said. “I grew up a Buckeye fan, so it’d definitely be a dream come true to get an offer. I grew up watching the Buckeyes, my parents would take me to games, I couldn’t ask for more right now from the Buckeyes’ staff.”

Smith presents a skill set that keeps getting nearer to Ohio State caliber. He’s a gifted 3-point shooter at his height with the ability to get downhill and score at the rim. Projected at the small forward position, he has plus length for that spot, though he could also factor in as a power forward at the next level.

“I definitely see myself more as a 3,” Smith said. “Maybe a stretch 4 at times if we’re playing small, but other than that I see myself as a 3. I really believe (Upper Arlington) Coach (Joe) Bills has been setting me up for success, putting me at the 3 last year and these past few games.”

Averaging 14.5 points per game for the Golden Bears as a sophomore, Smith earned Division I All-State honorable mention honors from the OHSAA. With those accolades came scholarship offers from Indiana, Ohio, Toledo and Bryant.

Smith played five games across two days at the Buckeyes’ camp on Thursday and Friday. On the latter day, he got going early with two triples in Upper Arlington’s first matchup against Hudson before showing off his in-close scoring with some dribble drives and transition opportunities.

“Fatigue hit me a little bit from yesterday because those three games weren’t easy yesterday,” Smith said after that game. “But I definitely got started with those two threes and after that it was pretty good. We got off to a really good start.”

“It’d definitely be a dream come true to get an (Ohio State) offer.”– 2026 Wing Alex Smith

Heading into his junior season, Smith is working to become a more well-rounded scorer and increase his prowess on defense.

“Just getting into my bag a little bit, not just being a spot-up shooter, someone who drives it, I want to be more of a three-dimensional player,” Smith said. “I think these past few games I’ve (shown I’ve) really improved my defense from last year, tougher on the ball, getting steals, deflections and all that stuff. Staying in front of the ball.”

Smith’s been in contact with Diebler and his assistants when he can, but the communication from all of his potential suitors won’t hit full swing until the NCAA’s contact period begins on June 15. 

Though he’s still waiting on an Ohio State offer, the Buckeyes are at the top of Smith’s recruitment alongside Indiana. He’s still got a long time to make a decision, however. 

“Definitely Ohio State,” Smith said when asked what schools are standing out to him. “It’s hard to really tell until June 15th. I’m really just kind of waiting until there to see who’s interested, who reaches out. Who keeps a consistent relationship with me. I already know Ohio State will do that because I’ve been in touch with them for about a year now, and Indiana. Those two really stand out to me the most.”

Overall, Smith will be looking for the right fit schematically and with who he’s built the best relationship as his process plays out. He’s willing to battle for a spot in a team’s rotation if those other two factors are in play.

“I’m really looking at a lot of things,” Smith said. “How I fit in, relationships. Playing time a little bit, but if there’s a dude in front of me, I will work to get in front of him. It’s not like I’m going to take a backseat. I’m willing to compete.”

If Smith keeps progressing the way he has the past year, that opportunity could very well come in Columbus.

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