Illinois transfer Mark Smith commits to Missouri

Smith, who announced on March 5 he would transfer from Illinois, will have to sit out the 2018-19 season.
Mark Smith in a game for Illinois during the 2017-2018 season. Getty Images

Illinois transfer Mark Smith has committed to play college basketball at Missouri.

Smith announced his commitment over Twitter on Saturday night. He is the fifth newcomer to commit to Missouri ahead of the 2018-19 season and the second point guard to do so.

Smith will not be eligible to play in the 2018-19 season for the Tigers, required by NCAA transfer policy to sit out a year and redshirt. He will be available to play three seasons after serving the transfer ineligibility period.

Smith made an official visit to Missouri Friday through Saturday.

The Edwardsville, Illinois, product was a top-60 overall prospect in the high school class of 2017. A four-star recruit, he was initially committed to play baseball for Missouri before electing to pursue a collegiate basketball career at Illinois. His reputation and potential as a guard in high school earned him offers from Duke and Michigan State, along with Missouri and others.

Smith, who started in 19 games, averaged 5.8 points per game in his freshman season for the Fighting Illini. That total dropped to 3.1 in Big 10 play, as he tallied 33.7 percent shooting for the season. He announced on March 5, not long after Illinois’ season ended, that he would transfer.

Smith, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound recipient of the Illinois “Mr. Basketball” title his senior season in high school, began his visit in Columbia on Friday night. He visited Mizzou Arena today after the football team’s Black and Gold spring game.

He tweeted on Saturday night: “I have big news I’d love to share with everyone. I have committed to the University of Mizzou! Please respect my decision!! First I’d like to thank God for giving me my talents! Second of all I’d like to thank my family! I couldn’t have made [it] here without them! Thank you for all the love and support! I can not wait to rock the black and gold jerseys next year!”

Smith joins an incoming cast of players that includes Torrence Watson, KJ Santos, Xavier Pinson and Javon Pickett, another former Illinois commit.

Smith’s commitment leaves Missouri with two remaining scholarships to offer ahead of the 2018-19 season — one if freshman Jontay Porter chooses to stay in the NBA draft.

Edited by Joe Noser |

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