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Mizzou Hoops Player Review: Mark Smith

Mark Smith finished out his career at Mizzou with an up-and-down season. Where does he go from here?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Missouri at Oklahoma IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

Transfer week continues at Rock M Nation, as we review the three players - hold on, I’m getting a note from my producers...

Oh, another transfer? Well, then.

It appears our transfer reviews will flow into next week as we continue to address the attrition of Missouri’s roster. We’ve already tackled Xavier Pinson and Parker Braun, the first two Tigers to announce their departure. Today, we’ll tackle the first Tiger to announce his next destination: Mark Smith, who recently committed to Kansas State for a graduate year.

It’s a bit of an odd situation. Clearly, Cuonzo Martin was not planning to have Smith back next season and seemed to bid he and the rest of the seniors farewell before any of them announced plans to return. But Smith clearly wanted to get another season of college ball in before he tries his hand at professional ball or moves on from the basketball world.

As we do in all these posts, we’ll review both what Smith did well and what he didn’t, ending with our final thoughts on where he goes from here.

Mark Smith By the Numbers

Season Minutes % Offensive Rating Usage Rate Points % Effective FG % True Shooting % Off. Rebounding % Def. Rebounding % Assist Rate Turnover %
Season Minutes % Offensive Rating Usage Rate Points % Effective FG % True Shooting % Off. Rebounding % Def. Rebounding % Assist Rate Turnover %
2020-2021 73 97.3 17.6 13.2 46.5 51 2.1 10.2 6.4 16.4
2019-2020 51.3 106.5 17.9 11.5 53.1 55.8 1.4 16.1 6.3 15.1
2018-2019 41.8 117.4 18.8 10.1 58.5 60.4 2.9 19.5 12.3 15.5

What went well?

Mark Smith has always been something of a 3-and-D specialist, and we’ve often wondered what his game would look like if he looked to go to the rim more often. And while the answer is a bit more complex than, “he did it,” Mark Smith did attack the rim more aggressively while maintaining a high level of defense. It wasn’t a surge by any means, but his free throw rate did increase from the mid-20’s to the low 30’s, and his shot output from two-point range nearly doubled. Missouri really needed Smith to become a more versatile scorer in his senior season, and the effort he made to become one is evident.

What didn’t go well?

This will always be a pro-Mark Smith space, so let’s temper what I’m about to say with some general appreciation for his role in the program. But to be honest, Smith’s senior year was pretty disappointing in general, hampered by poor shooting and a lack of rebounding prowess he’d shown in the past. Smith was never going to be the 45 percent jump shooter he was in his sophomore year, but the Edwardsville native regressed all the way to 31.5 percent this season. And while he made a more concerted effort to get to the rim, he didn’t convert at a noticeably better rate (only 45.5 percent.) His defensive rebounding percentage dropped about six points to 10.2 and his turnover rate ticked slightly up to 16.4. Some of these flaws could have been the result of Smith straining to produce for a team that needed him, but he never found a groove quite like he did in his first two seasons as a Tiger.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Missouri at Oklahoma
Mark Smith had his moments as a senior, but struggled with jump shot for most of the year before transferring to Kansas State for a graduate year.
Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

What’s next?

I love that Mark is helping Kansas State — obviously the former Gene Keady assistant connection exists with Bruce Weber and Cuonzo Martin. And while both programs are hitting a bit of a reset, the reset for Kansas State is looking certainly harder than what Missouri is doing. The Tigers are looking to rebound from a slightly disappointing NCAA tournament season... the Wildcats, however, are trying to return from the depths of the Big 12. I think Mark Smith can help them.

Truthfully, I’m not sure he was really in a position to help Missouri next year. With both Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith making an exit, Mizzou needed guards who would help scoring and handling the ball more, and Mark just became inconsistent in scoring. So it makes sense for both sides to look at a new start. There are a lot of options in the portal; Missouri just needs to find someone who is as capable defensively, can rebound and be a bit more consistent shooting from deep.

Sam Snelling