Piece by piece through the transfer portal, new USC basketball coach Lamont Paris is building a roster for the 2021-22 season. Currently, six players remain from the Frank Martin era. Paris has added four transfers to the mix pushing the roster total to 10, assuming transfer Troy Boynton eventually goes on scholarship.
Thus far from the portal Paris has plucked players from Evansville, The Citadel, Coastal Carolina and Ohio State. No players from his former UT-Chattanooga program have opted to join him, but that could soon change. And it would be perhaps the biggest addition of them all.
Wednesday morning UTC star 6-4 Malachi Smith announced he has put his name in the portal. Earlier in the month Smith announced for the NBA Draft, but he kept his eligibility intact. Smith immediately becomes a major target for Paris, and the Gamecocks likely become the top landing spot for Smith.
Smith was the Southern Conference Player of the Year and winner of the Lou Henson Award as the nation’s best mid-major player this past season. He led the league in scoring at 19.9 points per game and was the only player in D1 basketball with at least 600 points, 200 rebounds, 50 assists, 50 steals and 50 made three-point field goals.
Smith began his career at Wright State and after a season there transferred to Chattanooga. After sitting out a season, he played two years for Paris. In 95 career games, Wright has averaged 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists per game. He’s a career 47% shooter overall, 38% from three and 82% from the line.
Smith will receive a lot of recruiting attention this time around, the Paris and the Gamecocks can expect to be right in the middle of it, if not at the top.