Colin Smith wasn’t the highest-rated freshman in Vanderbilt’s 2022 recruiting class, but as I was watching tape on each of the recruits, to my untrained eye he looked like the best player of the group right now.
That was exactly what we saw once the season started. While we were complaining early in the season about how little Vanderbilt’s touted freshman class was playing... well, there was Smith, getting his minutes and generally doing good things in a limited role. His 115.9 Offensive Rating was the second-best on the team (behind Liam Robbins), he ranked second on the team in three-point percentage and shot quite a few more than Paul Lewis. He was a solid rebounder and didn’t turn the ball over.
Early in the season, he was Myles Stute’s backup; but after Stute’s shot went into a funk that he never came out of, Smith drew starting assignments and big minutes and did the most with them — to the point that Stute elected to transfer out of the program prior to the NIT. Smith played 80 minutes in the team’s three NIT games and that’s a good preview of his role on the team going forward: he’s going to start and play 30 minutes a night for as long as he wants to.
What keeps him from an A-grade is that he was playing a limited role and thus only averaged 4.7 ppg. But there was a reason I thought going into the offseason that he was one of the three players Vanderbilt needed to keep out of the transfer portal (and they did, technically, even if Tyrin Lawrence was in the portal for a month.)