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.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.