Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 17, 2013

Ex-Jacksonville College hoopster to become a Minnesota Golden Gopher

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

MINNEAPOLIS —  Former Jacksonville College Jaguar Malik Smith proclaimed via his Twitter account Wednesday that he has decided to transfer from Florida International University to the University of Minnesota.

Smith plans on following his coach at FIU (Richard Pitino) to Minnesota as Pitino took the job with the Golden Gophers earlier this spring.

Smith was Pitino's star player at FIU last season where he averaged 14.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.

He established a new record record at FIU by draining 96 three-point shots last year.

“I think Malik (Smith) is as pure of shooter as you will find,” JC head coach Jody Bailey said.

Smith will have one year of eligibility left and is expected to be able to play in the upcoming season due to academic deficiencies at FIU that have made that program ineligible for post season play in 2013-14.

Smith said last month when he made the decision to transfer that his close relationship with Pitino had played a major role in Smith being able to improve his overall work ethic.

Smith, who is from Boston, Mass., was an All-Region XIV selection and an All-Conference choice at JC his sophomore year. He averaged 15 ppg. That year and shot 36-percent from the field and 34-percent from beyond the arc.

“We've know all along that Malik was a special player,” Bailey said. “He went to Florida International and improved his game tremendously under Coach Pitino and we are thrilled that he (Smith) has received an opportunity to move on to Minnesota.”