CREVE COUER -- I believe that that the Mizzou Tigers got themselves a quality player named Mark Smith. If you haven’t heard, Mark committed to Mizzou over the weekend. I believe he has made history in becoming the first player from Illinois to transfer to Mizzou. I don’t think a Mizzou player has ever transferred to Illinois either.
Smith was the Mr. Basketball award winner at Edwardsville. He could have gone to Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Indiana. He was the hottest unsigned guard in America a year ago. He’s 6-5 inch point guard with incredible range and court vision.
However, for some reason, it didn’t work for him at Illinois. It’s nobody’s fault. Sometimes things just don’t work. So he went to Mizzou this weekend. He got their on Friday and didn’t leave till Sunday.
He came by KSDK on the way home. He says Cuonzo Martin didn’t leave him all weekend. On many visits, it’s about the assistants. No Cuonzo was not messing around. He remembered he didn’t have a guard who could make an entry pass. He needs guards. He needs people who can handle the ball.
He doesn’t want to be in the mess he was at times last season. So Mizzou has Xavier Pinson coming next season. He’s a pure point guard. Cuonzo also wants Courtney Ramey from Webster Groves.
That recruitment is almost mysterious. Many of the clubs who were on his list are already set at that position. Mizzou wants him. The Smith family believe the two of them could be incredible together. Mark could be a two guard with his stroke. And Remember there is nothing wrong with playing a bunch of guys who can really handle the ball. It has kinda worked with Villanova wouldn’t you agree?
I also want to say to college fans who are upset when a kid leaves your school or doesn’t choose your school, calm down. Don’t go the social media route and kill the kid.
Mark Smith comes from a loving family where the mom and the dad played college basketball and they teach their kids to respect authority. He’s a good student and a nice kid. 19 year olds are allowed to change their minds.
You can get on kids who abuse drugs and women and who don’t go to class. Lay off the players who simply want to change schools. That’s all Mark is doing. Illinois has an incredible recruiting class coming in. Brad Underwood is a proven winner with a great system. Eventually, Illinois Basketball will be just fine. So lay off the kids. I realize it’s just a small percentage of fans who do this, but it’s just nuts when they do.
One final thought on the saga. The Smith’s are hoping that the NCAA in June allows first time transfers to become eligible right away. It has been discussed. However, I talked to a college coach last night and to an Athletic Director. They tell me no way the rule is being changed. The thought process was if the kid had a grade point average of 3.0 or better and was a first time transfer he could be able to play right away.
We will see.
I am also told though Condoleezza Rice who is in charge of the commission to change things in college sports will be making some big changes. They want to place far less emphasis on AAU Basketball and travel and much more on the high schools the kids attend. Give the power to the high school coach who in most cases would be less crooked than some AAU coaches.
I like the idea very much.