Just days before the start of the season, 6-foot-6 junior wing Andrew Smeathers announced his decision to leave Butler at the end of the fall semester. Having played an average of just four minutes per game in two seasons at the school, Smeathers made the decision based upon his desire for more playing time.
On Thursday it was first reported by Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports that Smeathers has decided to transfer to Mount St. Mary’s. Smeathers averaged 1.5 points per game as a Bulldog, with his most productive outing being a 17-point night in a win over Oakland City during his freshman season. If looking solely at games against Division I competition, Smeathers scored eight points in a loss at Detroit in January 2012.
Smeathers joins a program that will lose three perimeter players at the end of the current season in Julian Norfleet, Sam Prescott and Rashad Whack, with those three players being the Mountaineers’ leading scorers. Norfleet currently ranks third in the Northeast Conference in scoring with an average of 18.6 points per game and second in assists (5.4 apg) with Whack’s 14.6 ppg ranking ninth. Prescott’s currently averaging 9.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.
Smeathers joins a five-member recruiting class that includes guard Lamont Robinson and four front court players. Normally a transfer at the end of the fall semester would result in a player having to sit out until the end of the fall semester in the next academic year. But with Georgetown center Joshua Smith receiving a waiver to play immediately after he played in six games at UCLA last season, it may be worthwhile to apply for a waiver especially when considering the fact that Smeathers hasn’t played at all this season.
If that’s the path Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian and his staff consider pursuing, it will be an interesting case to keep an eye on.
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.