Jalen Rasheed Smith was born Mar. 16, 2000 in Portsmouth, Virginia to Charles and Orletha Smith. He has one sibling, Kiara Smith. His sports hero is the late Kobe Bryant. Smith's nickname is "Stix". His alternative career path would be computer programming, and if he could play a different sport, it would be tennis. Smith attended Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore, Maryland. As a senior, he averaged 22.2 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. In 2017 and 2018, Smith was twice named the Gatorade Maryland Boys Basketball Player of the Year. He was also named to the 2018 McDonald's All-American team. Smith was among the top-25 recruiting prospects in 2018 and opted to attend the University of Maryland for college, where he studied information science. As a freshman, he was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. As a sophomore, Smith was named First Team All-Big Ten, Big Ten All-Defensive Team and Third Team All-American.