BLOOMINGTON — High-flying Justin Smith is taking flight.
The Indiana jumping-jack forward announced Friday that he is graduating early and entering the NCAA’s transfer portal.
“After much thought, prayer and discussion with people I trust, I have decided to enter the transfer portal as a graduate transfer. I want to thank Indiana University, the IU Mens Basketball Program and the awesome fans of Indiana for three amazing years in pinstripes,” Smith wrote on social media. “To my teammates, you are my brothers. I wish you nothing but the best on the bright path to complete our unfulfilled 2020 NCAA tournament dreams. The Hoosier Experience, the Kelley Business School degree, and the friends I’ve made in Bloomington in and outside of the basketball program will be forever treasured.”
The 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward from Buffalo Grove, Ill., who will have one season of eligibility remaining, is coming off his best season with the Hoosiers. He averaged 10.4 points (third on the team), 5.2 rebounds (tied for second on the team) and 30.3 minutes while starting all 32 games for IU. He shot 49.2 percent (127 for 258) from the field, including 26.3 percent (10 for 38) from the 3-point line, and 67.3 percent (70 for 104) from the free throw line.
Smith previously placed his name on the list of early entrants for the NBA Draft.
“Justin Smith and I had a conversation recently where we discussed his future and the feedback from the NBA. In that discussion, he made the decision to graduate and transfer for his final season of eligibility,” IU coach Archie Miller said in a statement. “I support his decision and wish Justin and his family all the best in this next chapter. I’m proud of his growth as a person, he’s a great young man and has been a terrific role model off the court and in the classroom. He obtained his degree in three years from IU’s Kelley School of Business and we thank him for all his contributions to Indiana University and our program.”
Smith was ranked as the 91st prospect in the nation by Rivals.com coming out of Adlai Stevenson High School. He averaged 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds while starting nine of 31 games for the Hoosiers as a freshman. Smith improved those numbers to 8.2 points and 4.5 rebounds while starting 32 of 35 games as a sophomore.