Friar Basketball

Recruiting Update: Tarin Smith & Isaiah Briscoe


In a rematch of last season’s New Jersey’s Non-Public B Title game, two Providence prospects were in action tonight when St. Anthony hosted Roselle Catholic at St. Peter’s University. Tarin Smith, of St. Anthony, led the Friars to an 80-57 smacking of the Lions and five star recruit Isaiah Briscoe.

Markis McDuffie led all scorers with 23 points but many of those buckets were set up by Smith. Smith finished the game with 12 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds. Throughout the game he showed that he can handle pressure, and he played nearly all 36 minutes tonight. His 7 assists very well could have been 10+ as there were a handful of opportunities where he set up his teammates but either missed layups or fouls caused him to lose the assist credit.

Although this was my first time seeing Smith play, I was very impressed with his decision making as the primary ball handler for St. Anthony. There were many situations where he had possession on a break but wisely pulled the ball out to set up the offense because numbers were not there. Smith also displayed a nice looking jumper as he hit two shots from three point land. Ultimately, he proved that he could get to the basket as well as distribute the basketball.Hqb_yHWL

Most of the night he was facing Roselle Catholic’s Asante Gist, a 2016 prospect, and got past him with ease. Head coach Bob Hurley told me after the game, “He played almost a flawless point guard game tonight. They [Roselle Catholic] were far more talented and he made the right decisions of when to pull it out and when to go, in order to get guy’s shots. I also thought he did a great job guarding the kid Gist, who is a very good young player. He just played the way we needed him to play in order to win this game.”

Currently listed as a three star on, the 6’2 guard is hearing from Providence, Creighton, Rhode Island, Lehigh, Delaware, Boston University, Boston College, Fordham and Florida International.

When I asked Smith how hard Providence, specifically, is recruiting him, he said, “I hear from Providence a lot. Coach Bob Simon actually called me tonight before the game.” As far as how he feels he would fit in at PC, Smith commented,”I think I would fit in well there, they need a guard with Bryce Cotton graduating and when I went on my unofficial visit, I liked it. Ed Cooley is a great guy. He is a very sincere and truthful person. He means a lot to the school and he really cares about his kids. I think he is doing a great job as a coach this season, they’ve won some big games so far this year.”

In terms of when he plans on making a decision, he said that he would like to make it sooner rather than later but he is in no rush. “I am still waiting to see what comes in, but there are five or six schools that are contacting me the most and Providence is definitely one of those schools.”

A native of Ocean, NJ, roughly 50 miles from St. Anthony High School, Smith has a brutal commute to and from school. When asked about that, he shared, “I wake up at 5:30 in the morning to catch a 6:30 bus, which gets me to Jersey City around 7:50 and to school around 8:10. It’s a struggle but it’s worth it to come up here and play with my teammates and face this type of competition. I love it here.”

Although Smith isn’t listed by ESPN and is given just three stars by, Hurley labels him as, ” A rapidly developing major college prospect.” He also added that Smith only began starting for the Friars at the midpoint of last season but since then, he is improving everyday. Hurley ended our conversation by saying, “He’s put on about 12 pounds since the end of last season, so the growth in his game is still ongoing. If he was a stock, I would speculate that that stock is going to be worth a lot more down the road than it is now. He is bright kid, he is number one in his class, and he is a hard worker. He has already been accepted by Princeton and UPenn, so we’re talking about a kid who has the full package.”

After speaking with Smith, it certainly sounded as though there is high mutual interest between both him and PC. Isaiah Briscoe on the other hand seemed much less interested in Providence. When I spoke with him about the chances that he could end up at PC he said, “They [Ed Cooley and staff] came to my game last Tuesday and they have been trying to get me up there for game but Providence is Providence, I guess it’s warm.” Although he appeared to be less than excited about PC, I will add that he was visibly upset about the loss and I may have caught him at a bad time. He did add that he does plan on visiting Providence but he is unsure as to when that will happen.

Roselle Catholic head coach, Dave Boff told me that Briscoe is hearing from every major school right now and that his list is growing everyday. He did say that he spoke with Bob Simon a few days ago but he has not heard from Ed Cooley. As mentioned earlier, Briscoe is a major talent and is currently ranked 19th overall by ESPN in the class of 2015. will continue to keep tabs on both of these players but at this point, it seems as though Briscoe may be a long shot. Smith on the other hand, definitely seems like a possibility.

Email Craig Belhumeur –
Craig on Twitter – @Craig_Belhumeur

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