Freshman guard Mark Smith is transferring from Illinois after a disappointing first year. Under 20 minutes played per game and only 5.8 points per game isn’t exactly what Illini fans were expecting from Mr. Basketball in Illinois. It is being reported that Smith was unhappy with the direction that the program was going in. I feel bad for him because it’s only up from here for this Illini team. They aren’t going to be at the top of the conference next season, but they definitely showed potential to be anywhere from 8-10, which would be a huge improvement over their Big Ten play this season.
In my opinion what happened here was Mark Smith was unhappy with his playing time here and thought he should see more of the floor. At points in the season, I’d agree with him, but there were sometimes where it was apparent he was just not all into the game. Sometimes it’s on you to get the job done and earn more playing time in practice. I respect him for doing what is best for him and hope he has success wherever he decides to go, but it’d be cool to see how he would fit in with the Illini team next year.
If I have any advice for Mark, it’s to listen to the speech Joel Berry gave after his senior night: