Smith Switches Recruiting Sport, Secures Several Offers

Morgan Goebel, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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One week after the EHS boys basketball team returned from their first tournament of the 2015 season in Waterloo, then-junior shooting guard Mark Smith verbally committed to the University of Missouri to pitch for their baseball team. According to the Belleville News-Democrat, Smith’s right-handed fastball regularly registered between 89 and 91 mph on the radar gun.

But after an elbow injury derailed his baseball season, Smith decommitted from Mizzou in July 2016.

Now he is back on University of Missouri’s radar—but this time as a rivals.com four-star basketball recruit.

“He’s a great player,” head basketball coach Mike Waldo said. “Although you hear a lot about his scoring, he’s not selfish on the court. He’s a team player.”

Before the Tigers’ opening tournament in Highland over Thanksgiving break, Smith had seven offers from small Division 1 schools throughout the Midwest area, according to verbalcommits.com.

After the Tigers clinched their second tournament title of the season on Dec. 30 at the Prairie Farms Holiday Classic in Collinsville, Smith scored his 1,000th career point and became the first Tiger to ever earn MVP of the tournament—and secured an offer from Kansas State and the University of Illinois.

“When I got the offer from Kansas State, it was a great feeling,” Smith said. “I finally got to see all my hard work pay off.”

Throughout the month of January, Smith received offers from University of Missouri, Boston College and Northwestern University.

As of Feb. 8, Smith also has offers from Indiana University, Butler University, UC Berkeley and University of Utah. According to rivals.com, which ranks Smith 74th on their list of the top 150 class of 2017 prospect recruits, Auburn University and University of Kansas are interested in Smith as well.

“I really haven’t narrowed my search down yet,” Smith said. “I’m interested in all the schools that are recruiting me. I don’t really have a favorite yet.”

Official signing for basketball doesn’t start until April 12, so Smith still has time to make his final decision—hopefully with a few more offers and a trip to the IHSA state tournament.

“Having all these major schools after me is great, but the team is more important to me,” he said. “We have a goal to go to state this year, and that’s what I’m focused on.”

 

 

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