No matter how far the game takes him, Tirus Smith remains Petal's own. It's not often that a player of Smith's stature and skills graces the Panther hardwood.
Once overlooked in recruiting circles, college coaches are now inquiring about the rising hooper from Petal.
“It's mostly phone calls,” Petal boys basketball coach Justin Henley said. “A couple calls a day. Guys checking in on when we practice and what we do. Just trying to get their schedule together to be here to see him.
“We've had I guess in the last couple weeks we've had five or six schools in. Got more scheduled. Really it's just day to day depending on where else they're going. They try to fit in as many kids as they can as they travel.”
Understanding the school's football tradition, this is a source of pride for Smith.
“It really means a lot to me,” Smith said. “People don't really recognize Petal basketball. Because you've got Petal football. It's always been successful for football. We're trying to build a program for basketball new and people are starting to see what we're trying to build now and it feels great.”
Having originally verbally committed to Ole Miss, Smith has seen interest increase after opening his recruitment back up recently.
Schools that have shown interest in the 6-foot-7 forward include Alcorn State, New Orleans, South Alabama, Southern Miss and Tulane.
Smith said it all comes down to finding the right fit.
“(I) just felt like it was a better fit for me to just kind of open it up,” he said. “And look at not necessarily would be better options but what would be a better fit for me right now.
Standing tall and talented, Smith offers a high level of intrigue for college programs.
Fresh off a summer of balling in many locales against top notch competition, Smith is looking to take Petal hoops and his game to the highest level.
The summer competition opened his eyes to what could be.
“It was a real eye opener,” he said. “It showed me how hard I gotta work. Showed me where I'm at against guys who are highly ranked in my class and opened my eyes to see what talent is out there.”