ST. LOUIS, MO- Days after learning that Forward Jontay Porter would be lost for his sophomore season due to knee injuries, the University of Missouri basketball program got a dose of good news, with word from the NCAA that Mark Smith, who transferred after his freshman season at Illinois, would be eligible to play immediately without having to sit out the season.
Smith, who starred at Edwardsville High School en route to being named Mr. Basketball in the State of Illinois after the 2017 season, left the Illini program in search of a better system fit. He had planned on playing baseball at Missouri before arm injuries pushed the aspiring pitcher to focus instead on basketball. His senior year brought attention from basketball programs around the country.
He appeared in 31 games for Illlinois in 2017-2018, including 19 starts.
Missouri is still waiting on the NCAA to rule on a similar waiver made in hopes of having another transfer, guard Dru Smith (no relation), available this season. Dru Smith left the University of Evansville after a coaching change and would seem to have a better argument than Mark Smith did in having a waiver granted. The NCAA is in the process of considering reforms to transfer rules moving forward.