Deville Smith has received a waiver and will be eligible to play for Tennessee-Martin immediately this season, a source confirmed to NBCSports.
“I’m happy for Deville,” head coach Heath Schroyer said in a statement released by the program. “He has had to overcome a lot of adversity in his life and it’s always nice to see something good happen to a good kid.”
Smith spent last season playing for UNLV, where he averaged 9.7 points and started 18 games at the point as a junior. UT-Martin will be his fourth school in four years. As a freshman, he played on the same Mississippi State team as Rodney Hood, Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie before transferring to a junior college for the 2012-2013 season.
Smith will join a back court that adds JuCo all-american Alex Anderson and returns senior Marshun Newell and junior Dee Oldham. The Skyhawks went just 8-23 last season before undergoing a coaching change, bringing in the former UNLV associate head coach Schroyer.
Former UNLV guard Deville Smith has found a new home as the 6-foot guard will play his final year at Tennessee-Martin. Smith announced his move on Twitter but the story was first reported by CBSSports.com’s Jon Rothstein.
Smith will follow former UNLV associate head coach Heath Schroyer, who is now the first-year head coach for the Skyhawks. According to Rothstein, Smith will attempt to file a waiver with the NCAA in the hopes of playing this season. The guard only has one year of eligibility remaining.
After averaging 9.7 points and 2.7 assists per game at UNLV, Smith will join returnees Dee Oldham and Marshun Newell in the Tennessee-Martin back court.
While the Skyhawks struggled to an 8-23 mark in 2013-14, if Smith is allowed to play if would give Tennessee-Martin a very good back court to work with in the Ohio Valley Conference.
New UT Martin head coach Heath Schroyer spent the past three seasons on Dave Rice’s staff at UNLV, and according to a report Schroyer has added a former Runnin’ Rebel to his roster.
Guard Deville Smith, who was one of the options used by Rice at the point guard position last season, has decided to transfer to UT Martin according to Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com. Last season Smith, who played his freshman campaign at Mississippi State before transferring to Southwest Mississippi CC following the departure of head coach Rick Stansbury, averaged 9.7 points and 2.7 assists per game.
Smith started 18 of the 32 games he played in last year, and he shot 42.6% from the field and 33.8% from beyond the arc. Smith’s best performance at UNLV came in a loss at Boise State on February 22, as he accounted for 22 points and seven assists in the 91-90 defeat. His game-high in assists was eight (in a win at Utah State), and Smith accounted for five or more assists in five games in 2013-14.
According to the report UT-Martin is expected to request an immediate eligibility waiver on Smith’s behalf. The Skyhawks have to replace two of their top three scorers from last season, with forward Myles Taylor (14.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg) being the team’s leading returning scorer. Besides Smith, Schroyer and his staff have brought in eight newcomers including junior college All-American Alex Anderson and former UTEP signee and junior college transfer Twymond Howard.
Anderson averaged 16.7 points and 4.6 assists per game at Itawamba CC last season, helping to lead Itawamba to its first Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges title since 2008.