Jalen Smith heads to the NBA.
The sophomore basketball star from Maryland has declared for the draft and is expected to keep his name in the pool, ending a stellar two-year stint at College Park. The 6-foot-10-inch Baltimore native, projected by most as a first-round pick, won the first All-Big Ten team honors and was a third AP All-American team this season after averaging 15, 5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. per match.
“I am grateful and grateful for the opportunity to consult with my family and my coaches to make the decision that the time has come for me to move on to the next phase of my basketball career and declare for the NBA Draft “Smith Tweeted. “Thank you to my brothers who put on the Terrapin uniform with me at the Xfinity Center. Together, we fought inside the most competitive NCAA conference, the Big Ten. We have made stories and this cannot be changed! Thanks to Terp Nation. 16-1 at home thanks to your support and your energy which you brought to each match. I will forever cherish celebrating the Big Ten Championship with you. Feat the Turtle! ”
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Smith caught fire in mid-January, helping Maryland lead a nine-game winning streak and record double doubles in 13 of the last 14 games. During the Big Ten game, he placed fifth in the conference scoring, second in rebound, first in percentage of goals scored, sixth in 3-point shooting and first in blocks. His season has been one of the best of all of the great men in Maryland for decades, and his versatility as an indoor-outdoor scorer and boulder makes him an intriguing prospect in the NBA.
“I am delighted for Jalen and his family to have made such an important and exciting decision,” said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon in a press release. “From the moment we started recruiting Jalen, we knew what kind of player and quality person we were going to find and he was up to scratch in every way. As incredible as a Jalen player is on the field, he is even more so as an individual off the field. He will be missed in College Park. I look forward to seeing Jalen at the next level and I wish him and his family only the best of their journey. “
CBSSports’ last mock draw predicted that Smith would reach 20th place in the Milwaukee Bucks:
Not all prospects returning for their second seasons really help themselves – but Smith clearly did. He added strength, improved his field goal percentage by 4.6 points, his 3 point percentage by 8.0 points and on average more points (15.5), rebounds (10.5) and blocks (2.4) from the previous year while helping Maryland win a share. of the Big Ten title. The 6-10 striker should be able to play either 4 or 5 at the next level. This makes him a real option anywhere outside the lottery.
Smith’s departure leaves a big hole in the middle for Turgeon, who hasn’t signed any front-line players for next season but is working to close on transfers. The Terps have also lost reserve forward Ricky Lindo to the transfer, so they will need reinforcements and hope for a 7 foot 2 inch first year Chol Marian takes a step forward as a second year student.
With Smith’s departure and the selection of all other conferences Anthony Cowan graduates, they will lose their two top scorers, leader in rebounds and blocks (Smith) and leader in assists (Cowan).
“We have to do some things for our roster next season, even if we have a lot of great players coming back, we have to add a few more pieces,” said Turgeon two weeks ago.
Smith, a McDonald’s former All-American at Mount St. Joseph in Baltimore, is the latest in a series of second-year students to leave the program earlier. A year earlier, his first zone comrade, Bruno Fernando, said after his second year. Fernando’s teammate with the Atlanta Hawks, Kevin Huerter, said after his second year the previous season. Another sophomore, Big Ten, sixth man of the year Aaron Wiggins, is on the NBA radar but does not appear on the fake projects and seems unlikely to leave this year.
“Thank you to the Almighty without you, none of this would be possible. Thank you to my family for always providing me with love and support to endure. No words can ever thank you enough, ”Smith tweeted. “Thank you to the coaches and staff of the University of Maryland and for the little-known work you do to prepare us to compete as student athletes beyond basketball, thank you. “