Friday night is when good news happens for Missouri Basketball, I guess.
Following last week’s flip of Tray Jackson, sources told Rock M Nation that Illinois transfer Mark Smith received an NCAA waiver bestowing the guard with immediate eligibility. Missouri athletics confirmed the news with a release a short time later.
Smith, a former top-60 recruit from Edwardsville, Ill., transferred from Illinois last spring after having a rough second half of his freshman campaign, and reportedly not getting along very well with the coaching staff.
Smith was the 2017 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year, posting 21.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, a breakout that pushed him up recruiting rankings. When it came time to commit, though, Smith was in a slight bind. Illinois had fired John Groce, who had put the Illini on solid footing with the 6-foot-4 guard. While Smith explored other options, such as taking an official visit to Michigan State, his affinity for Illinois as a school played a key role in committing to Brad Underwood.
By the middle of last season, though, on-court struggles and illness knocked Smith down the pecking order, all while his relationship with Underwood deteriorated. In picking Missouri, Smith was looking for a place where he could spend a year away developing his game and picking up a system that better fit his skillset.
Now, with the NCAA waiver, the timetable ramps up substantially.
His transfer, on its surface, would seem the more straightforward of the two transfers Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin took last spring. Dru Smith has not been cleared to date, after transferring from Evansville, following the firing of his head coach Marty Simmons.
Update | Dru Smith's waiver for immediate eligibility was denied but #Mizzou is planning an appeal, per a source.— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) October 27, 2018
Mark Smith being eligible is good news for the guard depth, which the Tigers were obviously concerned about coming into the season. As we learn more we may update this post, and we’ll be providing more analysis in the coming days. For now,
A scholarship count!
Late night #content