Mount St. Joe’s Smith commits to Maryland

Mount St. Joseph rising senior Jalen Smith, one of the most hotly recruited big men in the nation, surprised some, Monday evening, when he committed to play his college basketball at the University of Maryland.

Smith, who had a who’s who list of college coaches attending his games last winter, was believed to be leaning toward Villanova, but after making his official visit to College Park last Friday, he made the call on Monday. In addition to Maryland and Villanova, Miami, Syracuse and Virginia were among his finalists.

“First, I would like to thank God for blessing me with talents which have allowed me to be successful at basketball on the amateur level,” said Smith, who went on to thank his parents, teachers and coaches. “To all of the college coaches who took time out of their busy schedule to recruit me for the hard work that I have put in academically and athletically, please know that I am honored and thankful. With all that being said, I believe that can academically and athletic all achieve my goals at home through my commitment to the University of Maryland… Go Terps!”

Smith, who was named Varsity Sports Network’s Player of the Year after his junior season, also was named a 2nd-Team Junior All-American by MaxPreps, the Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year and Baltimore Catholic League Defensive Player of the Year, while helping lead the Gaels to a 34-7 record and titles in the Baltimore Catholic League and MIAA A Conference.

On of the biggest factors which swayed Smith was the ability to continue playing with Darryl Morsell, his St. Joe teammate this winter who will be freshman at Maryland this coming season.